In Lakewood, 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.
Most vitally, 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 really take on such responsibility.
What Type of Estate Plan Do I Need in Lakewood, California?
This normally 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 crucial thing in your life. However, if you're seriously ill, and/or unusually wealthy, estate planning might be a priority for you.
Individuals who are, for different possible reasons, unwilling or unable to get married, but are in committed, lifelong relationships, are perhaps most in need of a good Lakewood, 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.
Other groups for whom estate planning is very crucial in Lakewood, 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 crucial. 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 Lakewood, California Estate Planning Attorney?
Because estate planning in Lakewood, California can involve some confusing legal and financial issues, it is essential to undertake this task with the guidance of an experienced attorney who specializes in estate planning.