In Lawndale, 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 Lawndale, California?
Obviously, the answer to this depends on many factors, as well as your goals and preferences. However, most people, when deciding what type of estate plan they need, consider their health, age, and wealth.
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're not married in Lawndale, 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 Lawndale, 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 important and unavoidable.
Do I Need a Lawndale, California Estate Planning Attorney?
Because estate planning in Lawndale, California is not always simple, the assistance of a good attorney will almost certainly be useful, and worth the cost. This is doubly true because of how important the issues involved can be, and the fact that a relatively minor mistake can sometimes derail an entire estate plan.