Let’s face it, estate planning is not everyone’s favorite subject. While it can be depressing to think about what will happen after you are gone, preparing for the future can also bring you the comfort that comes with knowing the people in your life will have what they need. Smart planning to benefit those we leave behind is not only sensible, but it’s also compassionate.
One misconception that many people have is that if they do not have a lot of personal possessions or assets, they do not need a will. Having even a basic will provides your loved ones with direction regarding your estate as well as your final wishes. Additionally, if you have children, it’s important to nominate someone to serve as their guardian if something should happen to you. Your will is the document where you would name your preferred guardian. Further, if you have pets, you can use your will to leave them to another person.
It’s also important to note that when you create a will, it can apply later in life when you have more assets and resources. If, for example, you leave all of your property to your sister and then later accumulate savings, she could inherit what you own. Without a will, your family may have to endure a lengthy and expensive probate process during which your estate will pass according to the law rather than your preferences. This is stressful even under the least complicated conditions. By having a will, you can spare your loved ones from having to go through this experience.
Another critical piece of your estate plan is your advance health care directive. This vital document lets you name the person who can make medical decisions for you if you become incapacitated. You may also use it to leave specific instructions to your medical providers regarding interventions and preferences. This important device allows medical treatment to occur without providers having to involve a court to make decisions about your care. By having your advance health care directive in place, you can reduce stress on your loved ones during this already difficult time and ensure you have the right provisions in place for your medical care.
You should also consider preparing a legal document called a power of attorney as part of your estate plan. This crucial document allows you to name another person to protect your financial interest if you become incapacitated. This individual can pay your bills, collect debts owed to you, and even manage your business interests. The extent of the named person’s powers will depend on the power of attorney document. Like the advance health care directive, a power of attorney can keep the court from having to become involved in your affairs. Otherwise, your loved ones may have to endure the burden and expense of seeking a conservatorship to protect you and your assets.
By taking the time to plan for your estate, you will not only be making a smart decision, but you will also be making a trying experience less upsetting for those who matter most to you. At the Law Office of Alice Salvo, we are experienced California estate planning and probate attorneys with the knowledge and experience you need to plan for your estate. Schedule a consultation today and let us start your estate planning solution.