Palm Springs Law Blog

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Estate Planning Tools Every California Resident Should Consider

Most of us know that it is very important to have a Will. For many, this is a necessary document for estate planning. But while Wills are in fact an important estate planning document, they are not the only important part of an estate plan. Estate planning involves a variety of legal documents that help an individual to carry out his or her goals and wishes with regards to his or her estate. These are four of the most important documents to include in an estate plan.

Four Essential Estate Planning Documents

1. Will

As mentioned, a Will is an extremely important estate planning document. This legal document provides a path for which individuals should distribute your assets upon your death. Individuals who die intestate (without a Will) will have their assets pass through California’s intestacy rules. For most, this is not the desired outcome.

One of the biggest detriments regarding Wills in California is that most are mandated to pass through the probate process, which can prove extremely expensive and time-consuming. There is a solution to this though: also add in a Revocable Living Trust.

2. Revocable Living Trust

A Revocable Living Trust is a legal document that holds many of your assets for another person or persons as soon as certain requirements/factors have been met. A Revocable Living Trust designates a Trustee to care for the property and its current owners as well as to look out for the beneficiaries when the creator (Grantor) becomes incapacitated or passes away.

Unlike Wills, Revocable Living Trusts are not obligated to pass through the probate process. Revocable Living Trusts are often paired with a Pour-Over Will, which can be used to pass assets that have not been transferred to the trust.

A Revocable Living Trust can be changed or canceled (revoked) at any time while you are alive.

3. General Durable Power of Attorney

A General Durable Power of Attorney helps an individual who becomes too sick, in unavailable, or otherwise incapacitated to make decisions by providing another person with the right to make financial and property decisions for you.

The person who you choose should be someone whom you trust fully since you will no longer be able to make decisions or change this selected individual once you are legally incapacitated.

4. Advance Health Care Directive

As with a General Durable Power of Attorney, an Advance Health Care Directive can be used to give someone else the legal right to make decisions on your behalf when you become incapacitated. In this document, you are able to provide your own instructions to be followed following your incapacity.

Heritage Legal, PC Helps Those in California to Plan for the Future

It is in your best interest to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced Estate Planning Attorney. They can work to ensure that your wishes are carried out in the best manner. Estate planning doesn’t have to be complex and confusing.

At Heritage Legal, PC, we understand the importance of protecting the very things that you care about the most. We can help you to establish a comprehensive estate plan that meets your needs and the needs of your family. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!

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