About 17% of adults don’t think they need a will, believing that estate planning is only for the very wealthy. However, no matter how few assets it seems someone owns, completing a few documents can make a huge difference in the future.
valuewalk.com’s recent article, “Couples: Here’s How To Start The Estate Planning Process” notes that although estate planning can seem overwhelming, taking inventory of assets is a terrific place to start. Make a list of all your belongings of $100 or more in value, both inside and outside of the home. After that, think about how these assets should be divided among family, friends, churches or charities.
Drafting a will may be the most critical step in the estate planning process. A will serves as the directions for how assets are to be distributed, which can avoid unpleasant disputes. A will can simplify the distribution of assets at your death, and it also provides instructions to your family and heirs. A will can also set out directions for childcare, pet care, or any additional instructions or specifications. Without a will in place, your assets will be distributed according to state law, rather than according to your wishes. Creating a will keeps the state from making decisions about how your estate is divvied up—decisions you may not have intended. Once you have your assets and beneficiaries set, see an experienced estate planning attorney and have your will drafted immediately. Hey, life is unpredictable.
In California, if you have assets of $150,000 or more they could be subject to probate at your death. Having a will means that you direct how the assets are distributed through the probate process. To avoid probate all together, a trust is an excellent vehicle and provides additional options for tax planning.
An important part of the process is to have a discussion with everyone involved to prevent any legal or familial disputes regarding the estate. Failure to start the estate planning process can lead to family fighting, misappropriated assets, court litigation and unneeded expenses. Get going!
One of the main goals of our law practice is to help families like yours plan for the safe, successful transfer of wealth to the next generation. Call our office today to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk about your estate plan, where we can identify the best strategies for you and your family to ensure your legacy of love and financial security. Our office is located in Santa Ana, CA but we serve all of California including Irvine, Orange, Tustin, Newport Beach, and Anaheim.
Reference: valuewalk.com (July 22, 2019) “Couples: Here’s How To Start The Estate Planning Process”