In Sonoma 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 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 people have very 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.
Most especially, 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 Sonoma County, California?
The answer to this question varies largely on your goals and priorities, as well as your age, health, and the amount of assets you have.
If you are young and unmarried, estate planning likely doesn't need to be on your radar, unless you are very ill, independently wealthy, or perhaps if you work in a very hazardous job, such as the military.
If you're not married in Sonoma County, 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. Furthermore, your will should precisely name your partner as a beneficiary, if you want them to inherit any of your assets.
If you are very old, and have a considerable estate in Sonoma County, California, you should definitely come up with an estate plan if you haven't already. Admittedly, this involves confronting some unpleasant and morbid subjects, but it is still very critical. Estate planning is essential if you care at all what happens to your property, and, more importantly, your loved ones, after you die.
Do I Need a Sonoma County, California Estate Planning Attorney?
Because estate planning can be a perplexing process, the expertise of a good lawyer in Sonoma County, California who specializes in wills, trusts, and estates can make the process a great deal easier.