California residents will benefit from participating in the process of creating an estate plan. The benefits of engaging in that process, with the guidance of an experienced estate planning attorney, are many. Making a will allows for the orderly disposition of a decedent's assets to the beneficiaries who are specifically designated in the legal instrument.
Without a testamentary document, any assets in the decedent's name at death will be disposed of by state law. That may result in a distribution scheme that is the opposite of what the decedent would have wanted. That disconnect will also impact surviving loved ones, and may cause family conflict and unnecessary emotional trauma and financial sacrifices.
When an individual or married couple meet with an experienced estate planning attorney, the assets will be identified and evaluated, preferences will be discussed and all of the details of the person's financial picture will be put in focus. The attorney will provide the client(s) with the options available. These may include the choice between wills and trusts, tax issues, and the resolution of particular considerations within the family context.
The personal impact of having an estate plan is one of self-confidence in knowing that the legal channels have been fully pursued to the benefit of the individual or married couple. For those who have minor children, the care and financial handling of the minors' persons and property can be designated in the last will and testament. All persons who engage in estate planning will benefit by having health care directives and a power of attorney as part of the package.
In California, all persons who have assets of some kind or another may benefit greatly by having their lifetime and post-death goals assured. The estate planning process will not only provide a framework and working path for the orderly disposition of the estate after death. It will also work to assure that assets are maximized and maintained in proper form during life. The all-important power of attorney is especially vital in keeping a person's life running financially smoothly even if the person becomes unable to handle his or her affairs competently on a daily basis.
Source: trib.com, "Brezik: Estate planning is for everyone", July 1, 2017