Estate Planning In Lake Forest, California
In Lake Forest, 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.
Most importantly, an estate plan should give instructions on the care of your minor children. It should lay out who is to take custody of them, and, if possible, leave them a large sum of money to assist with this care. Of course, you should discuss this matter with the people who you want to take custody of your children, to make sure they can actually take on such responsibility.
What Type of Estate Plan Do I Need in Lake Forest, California?
This usually depends on your individual goals and priorities, your age, health, and the nature and quantity of your assets.
For instance, if you're unmarried, and in your early 20's, estate planning is probably not the most essential thing in your life. However, if you're seriously ill, and/or unusually wealthy, estate planning might be a priority for you.
If you're not married in Lake Forest, California, but have a life partner, estate planning is essential. If you want your partner to be treated as your spouse, your estate plan should make arrangements to give him or her power of attorney in the event that you become incapacitated. Additionally, your will should clearly name your partner as a beneficiary, if you want them to inherit any of your assets.
There is another large group of people who would benefit from having a good Lake Forest, 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 involves facing some uncomfortable realities, it is essential and unavoidable.
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Do I Need a Lake Forest, California Estate Planning Attorney?
Because estate planning can be a complicated process, the expertise of a good lawyer in Lake Forest, California who specializes in wills, trusts, and estates can make the process a great deal easier.