California Estate Planning Lawyer
What happens to your property when you die? Does it all go to your spouse? What about your separate property? Can you make specific gifts to certain family members, friends, or charities? Does everything have to go through probate before it can be given away?
Estate planning is the thing you do that answers all of these questions. Estate planning also answers other important questions like, what happens if I become ill or disabled and can’t care for myself? How will decisions be made about my healthcare, and who will make them? What about my finances?
Here are some basics about California estate planning and how it affects probate. If you have any questions, call me! Call NOW for your FREE consultation!
Wills do a lot of things. Wills let you appoint the executor of your estate (the person stuck with the thankless task of reading your will and making sure your wishes are fulfilled). Wills let you appoint a guardian for your young children, should you and your spouse both die while you have kids at home. Wills also let you decide where all your property will go. No estate plan is complete without a Last Will and Testament.
These days, most estate plans are trust-based rather than will-based. You create a trust while you are living and decide who will get all of the property in the trust when you die (these are the beneficiaries). You also decide who will manage the trust and be in charge of making decisions like investing trust property (these are the trustees). If you have a trust, your will can send all of your property to the trust (if your spouse died before you did or at the same time).
Why do people use trusts? Trusts can be kept private and confidential, while wills become public records. Trusts can put strings on the property you give so that it doesn’t get wasted, while wills might just give the property outright. Finally, trusts don’t have to go through probate, but wills do.
Power of Attorney
If you get physically injured, seriously ill, or your mental abilities decline with age, you might not be in the position to make decisions regarding your healthcare, your finances, or make legal decisions. When you give someone power of attorney, you give them the authority to act on your behalf and make decisions for you. California law allows you to make powers of attorney for different purposes, such as financial or medical. You can also make a power of attorney effective immediately or only if you become disabled. You can set up a power of attorney to be lasting or go away once you get your capacity back.
Some people confuse wills with living wills, but they are not the same thing. We have talked about wills and what they do already. A living will tells a doctor or other person in charge what kinds of decisions you want them to make if you are terminally ill or in a coma. Do you want life support? Do you want to be resuscitated if you have a heart attack? Would you rather have pain medication to ease your discomfort, even if it means you could die more quickly? A living will tells the hospital or person you put in charge of your care what your wishes are so that they can be carried out.
Get Your Estate Plan Started Today; Call The Probate Guy for a Free Consultation
Everyone adult should have an estate plan. I like to say that it’s never too early to start your estate planning, and it’s (almost) never too late. The longer you wait to create your estate plan, the more likely it is someone could challenge your estate plan on grounds such as undue influence or lack of capacity. Act now to create a complete, solid estate plan that meets your needs and wishes and that is likely to withstand any challenges in probate. Call me for a free consultation about your estate planning, and I can help you get your wills, trusts and other documents done quickly and painlessly. Call 714-522-8880 for a free consultation. I take clients throughout Southern California, including but not limited to Anaheim, Buena Park, Cerritos, Compton, Downey, Fullerton, Gardena, La Mirada and Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego. You don’t need to come to my office; I can help you entirely over the phone, mail and e-mail. Call me now, and let’s get started! Call NOW for your FREE consultation!