In Montclair, 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 include 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 assistance 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. Nonetheless, it is rarely the only part of a solid estate plan.
A will is rarely the only aspect of a comprehensive estate plan. Most persons have quite strong preferences about their end-of-life care, particularly when, and under what circumstances, they would want to be taken off life support, if that every happens. These wishes should be made in writing, and discussed with family. Furthermore, preferences on organ donation and funeral arrangements should also be made clear.
Perhaps most notably, your estate plan should make arrangements for the care and custody of your minor children, if you have any. Of course, you should discuss this matter with the person you intend to take custody of the children beforehand, to ensure that they are able and willing to provide proper care.
What Type of Estate Plan Do I Need in Montclair, California?
Obviously, this depends on your needs, which you will have to figure out for yourself. Some basic considerations in making this decision, however, are your health, age, and the amount of assets involved.
Unmarried young adults usually don't think much about estate planning. In most cases, this is fine. Unless you are very sick or have an unusually large amount of assets, estate planning is not something to really worry about at this point in your life.
If you have a life partner in Montclair, California, but aren't married to him or her, estate planning is necessary. If you want your partner to have most of the same rights and responsibilities as a spouse, it's typically possible with good estate planning. You should grant your partner power of attorney, so they can make arrangements for you in case you become incapacitated. Moreover, 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.
If you are elderly, and have a considerable amount of assets in Montclair, California, estate planning may be more crucial at this stage of your life than any other. While estate planning deals with some morbid and unpleasant subjects (requiring us to confront the reality of our own mortality), it is necessary if you wish to live your life secure in the knowledge that your loved ones will be provided for to the extent that your assets allow.
Do I Need a Montclair, California Estate Planning Attorney?
Because estate planning can be a confusing process, the expertise of a good lawyer in Montclair, California who specializes in wills, trusts, and estates can make the process a great deal easier.