In Foster City, 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 recognized 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 really do it.
What Type of Estate Plan Do I Need in Foster City, California?
The answer to this question depends on your individual needs, your priorities, your health, and the size and nature of your estate.
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.
If you have a life partner in Foster City, California, but aren't married to him or her, estate planning is essential. If you want your partner to have most of the same rights and responsibilities as a spouse, it's normally possible with good estate planning. You should grant your partner power of attorney, so they can make choices for you in case you become incapacitated. Additionally, you should name your partner as a beneficiary in your will, because, unlike a spouse, a life partner will not automatically inherit your property if you die without a will.
Other groups for whom estate planning is very critical in Foster City, California are people who are elderly and/or have a lot of assets. This may be the point in one's life where estate planning is most critical. While it's true that the process of making an estate plan requires a person to deal directly with the reality of their own mortality, it is extremely important if you value the security that comes with the knowledge that your family will be provided for.
Do I Need a Foster City, California Estate Planning Attorney?
Because estate planning can be a convoluted process, the expertise of a good lawyer in Foster City, California who specializes in wills, trusts, and estates can make the process a great deal easier.