In El Monte, California, "estate planning" refers to the process by which a person makes arrangements related to their property after their death. It can (and should) also encompass personal issues that might come up immediately before and after a person's death.
One of the first things an estate planner will ask you about when you come to them for help is what you want to put in your will. A will is a document which says who is going to get your property after your death. Once it is proven valid, a will is binding, meaning that the beneficiaries get legal ownership of whatever is left to them. Obviously, if you have any interest in what is done with your property after you die, a will is going to be at the center of your estate plan. However, it is rarely the only part of a solid estate plan.
A solid estate plan will also include instructions to your doctors about your preferences for end of life care, in case you become unable to express them. This is identified as a "living will." It should also include instructions about funeral arrangements and organ donation.
For anyone who has children who are still minors, it is very crucial to make arrangements for their custody and care, just in case the unthinkable happens. You should think of a family member or very close friend who you know would be willing and able to take care of your children, and designate them as the person who would take custody. Of course, it's critical to discuss this matter with that person before you truly do it.
What Type of Estate Plan Do I Need in El Monte, California?
This typically depends on your individual goals and priorities, your age, health, and the nature and quantity of your assets.
For example, if you are in your 20's and unmarried, an estate plan probably does not need to be on your priorities, unless you are very ill, or independently wealthy.
Individuals who are, for varied possible reasons, unwilling or unable to get married, but are in committed, lifelong relationships, are perhaps most in need of a good El Monte, California estate plan. Because couples who aren't married don't automatically get any of the legal rights (such as hospital visitation, inheritance rights, and power of attorney) that come with marriage, they have to secure these rights through other means, such as wills and power of attorney agreements.
There is another considerable group of people who would benefit from having a good El Monte, California estate plan: the elderly and those with a lot of money really need to consider making a comprehensive estate plan as soon as possible. While this necessarily includes facing some uncomfortable realities, it is critical and unavoidable.
Do I Need a El Monte, California Estate Planning Attorney?
Estate planning in El Monte, California is not always convoluted, but it certainly can be. In moderately-sized to large estates, with a substantial number of potential beneficiaries, it is crucial to have the assistance of an estate planning professional.