In Goleta, 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 known 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 important 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 crucial to discuss this matter with that person before you actually do it.
What Type of Estate Plan Do I Need in Goleta, California?
The answer to this question depends on your individual needs, your priorities, your health, and the size and nature of your estate.
If you are in good health, young, and not married, planning an estate is probably not a high priority. And at this point in your life, it doesn't really have to be, with a few possible exceptions, such as individuals who work in very dangerous jobs, or who are very wealthy.
If you have a life partner in Goleta, California, but aren't married to him or her, estate planning is crucial. If you want your partner to have most of the same rights and responsibilities as a spouse, it's usually possible with good estate planning. You should grant your partner power of attorney, so they can make decisions for you in case you become incapacitated. Furthermore, 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.
Individuals who are elderly and/or have a large amount of money in Goleta, California are probably more in need of an estate plan than almost anyone else. Most people place a lot of value in the peace of mind that comes when they know that the people they love, or the causes they care about, will be taken care of after their death. Of course, nobody likes to confront the facts that this process always involves, but it's necessary.
Do I Need a Goleta, California Estate Planning Attorney?
Estate planning in Goleta, California is not always confusing, but it certainly can be. In moderately-sized to large estates, with a significant number of potential beneficiaries, it is crucial to have the assistance of an estate planning professional.