In San Mateo County, 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 will is rarely the only aspect of a comprehensive estate plan. Most persons have quite strong preferences about their end-of-life care, especially 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. Additionally, preferences on organ donation and funeral arrangements should also be made clear.
If you have young children, it is absolutely crucial that you make arrangements for their care, as well as their custody. Obviously, if you want someone specific to take custody of them in the event something happens, you need to discuss the matter with them, to ensure that they are actually able and willing to care for them.
What Type of Estate Plan Do I Need in San Mateo County, 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 young and unmarried, estate planning probably doesn't need to be on your radar, unless you are very ill, independently wealthy, or perhaps if you work in a very dangerous job, such as the military.
If you're not married in San Mateo County, California, but have a life partner, estate planning is imperative. 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.
If you are elderly, and have a considerable amount of assets in San Mateo County, 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 San Mateo County, California Estate Planning Attorney?
Because estate planning in San Mateo County, California is not always simple, the assistance of a knowledgeable attorney will almost certainly be useful, and worth the cost. This is doubly true because of how crucial the issues involved can be, and the fact that a relatively minor mistake can sometimes derail an entire estate plan.