The time is now to speak with an estate planning lawyer. Even if you’re still young and healthy, having an estate plan provides you with plenty of protection. If you were to pass away suddenly, your family would have to pick up all the pieces and sort everything out through the overly burdensome Probate Court process. This devastating event will potentially cause a lot of tension among your loved ones, which is something you can easily prevent.
What important decisions do you need to make when taking advantage of estate planning services? Allow us to explain:
Decision #1 – Knowing What Instructions to Provide
When you begin to utilize estate planning services and when creating your Living Trust and/or Last Will & Testament, you’ll have to provide instructions on how to settle your estate. This includes information on distributing your assets and resolving any debts you leave behind. Your Trust or Will allows you to determine precisely how you want to divide everything you own. You will also nominate someone to be the trustee/executor of your estate. Therefore, you should always follow an estate planning checklist to ensure that you have everything in order.
Decision #2 – Appointing People to Look After You
Throughout your experience in estate planning services, you should also determine how you want to receive end-of-life care and establish a medical directive for an emergency situation or for when you’re older. You will appoint someone to make important medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated, and you’ll give some guidance on what decisions you would want made. Having knowledge of your healthcare wishes will take unnecessary pressure off your family and protect your children with your estate plan.
Decision #3 – Determining Who’ll Manage Your Finances
One of the questions I commonly receive is, “Why is estate planning important?”. Estate planning services will answer this question. For example, the Power of Attorney is a legal document that gives someone permission to make important financial decisions on another person’s behalf. Keep in mind that you’ll want to appoint someone you trust to manage all of your finances and property. Some tasks they’ll perform may include paying bills, filing tax returns, and selling/buying investments.
Decision #4 – Creating a Living Trust
Trusts are essential when utilizing estate planning services and they can come in handy for different reasons. For example, some assets will go through a process known as “probate,” where the courts approve the transfer of ownership after death. Probate is a time-consuming and very costly process, but creating a trust ensures you can avoid probate in California entirely.
Living trusts can also optimize how an inheritance is received and give you increased levels of control in placing a framework around a gift. Whether it be age restrictions, incentive based distributions, or divorce/creditor protections around the inheritance, living trusts optimize how things pass on to your chosen beneficiaries. For some families, additional irrevocable trusts are incorporated to achieve different goals, often focusing on estate tax planning, asset protection, or long term care planning.
Decision #5 – Meeting With a Professional
Estate planning can be daunting, especially if you own complex assets and properties, or if you have detailed wishes for how things pass to your beneficiaries. A lot of effort and forethought goes into the process, which is why it often makes more sense for you to hire an estate planning attorney.
Here at Jenkins & Jenkins in San Diego, we provide estate planning services for many California families. Listed below are some areas we commonly help families with as part of the estate planning process:
- Optimizing an inheritance strategy
- Updating and amending your estate plan
- Providing customized solutions that suit all of your needs
Our teams of experts will ensure that you’re making all the right decisions when planning your estate. Ultimately, our job is to help you accomplish all of your goals as you continue to build your legacy and prepare for the future. Schedule an appointment with us today to learn more about our estate planning services, and we can help you get everything started.
Testimonial from Mehrdad, Satisfied Estate Planning Client
I contacted Jenkins & Jenkins Estate Planning Attorneys for restatement of my Living Trust and was pleased with the entire process from the initial contact, reviews of the draft versions, and all the way through signing the final documents. Attorney Michael Jenkins is very knowledgeable and responsive, and made the entire process very smooth. He answered all of my questions with timely responses and explanations and provided the documents in a very organized template format which is really important if / when they are needed to be referenced. Thanks Michael!