Estate planning in California involves making sure your family is protected and provided for in the event you are no longer with them. Although you may think it sounds morbid, it’s something that is critically important for everyone to prioritize. There is never a wrong time to start estate planning, and here are three tips you can use this fall to assure your California estate plan is the best it can be.
1. You’re never too young to start estate planning in California.
Many people believe estate planning is for the elderly, but this is untrue! You’re never too young to begin planning for your future. Unfortunately, none of us know when our life will go awry. In order to be fully prepared for any unintended circumstances, it’s crucial to have a well-crafted estate plan executed.
2. You don’t have to own an estate to have an estate plan.
It’s a common misconception that you have to be extremely wealthy to have an estate plan. An estate plan, however, is more than just assets. It is peace of mind for you and your family; setting the course for your life should you become incapacitated or pass away.
Don’t wait until you have more money or more property. Life can go sideways at any moment, so it’s crucial that you have all of your assets organized now.
Additionally, if you have young children, your estate plan must have the documents that determine who they will live with once you pass and how they will be provided for financially. Many people focus on the financial part initially, but who might raise your children is equally (if not more) important.
Don’t assume your children will stay with your partner since something could happen to both of you! Also, don’t assume that whomever you choose will automatically do so simply because you talked about it with them. They may no longer be able or a conflict could arise as to your true wishes or who is the best suited. Choose a family member, close friend or person you trust to raise your children until they are eighteen, select possible alternates, then put it all into your estate plan so that it is clear to your family and the courts afterwards.
3. Keep your assets ‘drama-free.’
The best estate plans are ones that avoid confusion or family drama once you have passed away. Because you’ll no longer be alive, treat your estate plan as a set of organized directions for your friends and family members. The clearer and more direct your planning, the more you can assure your family and beneficiaries know how to proceed.
While a good estate plan is not hard to create, it does take care, design and planning. By creating it early and not waiting until you have the perfect set of circumstances, such as more money or assets, you’ll have the plan your family needs to protect them in the event you are no longer here.
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Kevin Snyder is a husband, father, and an attorney at Snyder Law, PC in Irvine, California. He is all about family and has a passion for educating his community about trust and estate planning, veterans issues, and how to protect what matters most.