No one likes to think about their mortality, but it is essential to plan for the future. It is tempting to put off creating your estate plan, but what happens if you wait too long?
Creating an estate plan is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your loved ones. This document will dictate how your property is distributed after you die, and it can also provide instructions for health care decisions if you cannot make them yourself. If you don’t have an estate plan in place, it could lead to a lot of stress and confusion for your loved ones during a difficult time.
Elements of Estate Plans
An estate plan is a thorough a set of documents that may include a trust, Powers of Attorney, and advance directives. Each of these tools serves a different purpose, and they can all be customized to fit your unique needs.
A Power of Attorney (POA) can give someone the authority to make financial decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated and an advance directive can outline your wishes for end-of-life care. Having a POA and an advance directive saves your loved ones from having to make critical decisions under stress.
Trusts are an effective way to plan ahead by letting another party (either a person or institution) manage assets for you. Establishing a trust can be more costly, but it is a way to ensure that your heirs will receive their inheritance without going through probate court. Probate is the legal process of transferring your assets to your heirs, and it can be both time-consuming and expensive.
You might be asking yourself, “Isn’t having a will enough?” While a will is an integral part of any estate plan, it is not the only component. A will only goes into effect after you die, and it can only address your assets that are subject to probate. In contrast, an estate plan can take effect while you are still alive, and it can cover all of your assets, including those that are not subject to probate.
How Do I Create an Estate Plan?
Creating a comprehensive estate plan requires more than just drafting a few documents. It involves taking a close look at your assets, liabilities, and family situation and then making strategic decisions about how to best protect your interests. Our experienced estate planning attorneys at Lonich Patton Ehrlich Policasti can help you identify and assess your unique needs and create a plan that fits those needs. We have years of experience making estate plans for people throughout San Jose and the greater Bay Area.
For a free consultation, fill out our contact form or call us at (408) 553-0801. No matter what your circumstances, we can help you create a plan that gives you peace of mind knowing that your loved ones will be taken care of after you’re gone.