Many people put off estate planning thinking it is something they should do once they get older. What’s worse, some people don’t do any estate planning thinking that it is something that only celebrities or the ultra-rich should do. However, estate planning is not something that you should wait to do, nor should you disregard it altogether.
Whether you have many or few assets, estate planning helps to organize your finances and shields your family from financial chaos that you may leave behind upon passing. And since you can die at any age, you should opt to get your estate in order as soon as possible. So how do you organize your estate planning in California, and how can an estate planning lawyer help? Below is a checklist of seven critical things that should be a part of your estate planning checklist.
1. Name Your Beneficiaries
Who do you want to inherit your money in your various accounts or insurance policies if you passed away? Selecting a beneficiary is one of the most critical things you will need to do to prepare your estate.
2. Draw Up a Will and Advance Health Care Directive
Some people know that they should have a will, but they put it off until it’s too late. However, it is best to have a will written primarily before and after major life-changing events such as divorce. It is also a good idea to have an advance health care directive in place. This will express your intentions about your life if you cannot due to being in a coma or otherwise incapacitated.
3. Have a Living Trust in Place
A living trust is also an important document to have in the state of California. It helps protect your assets and ensure that they remain in your family’s hands.
4. Assign a Power of Attorney for Health and Finances
What do you want to happen if you are unable to make decisions for yourself? For example, designating a power of attorney for your health and finances is better than having the state of California appoint them for you.
5. Make Sure Your Insurance Policies are Adequate
Are your insurance policies up to date? The best way to determine this is to look at your debts. Ensure that your insurance policies cover your debts and ensure the livelihood of your beneficiaries should you pass away. This will prevent financial burdens.
6. Meet with a California Estate Planning Lawyer
Even if you have all your estate documents in order, it is a good idea to visit with an attorney. Speaking with an attorney will help you discover other critical things you need to secure your estate before passing away.
7. Ensure Your Family Can Easily Find Critical Documents
Some people work hard to plan their estate. Then they forget to make the essential documents that they’ve worked so hard to prepare available to loved ones. Placing your documents in a safe or a deposit box that a designated person knows about can minimize confusion during this difficult time.
Do you live in California and need an attorney to help you with estate planning? An attorney will cover the items on this checklist and more. For instance, do you need to address any California community property laws that may apply to you? Or do you need to discuss a buy-sell agreement for your California business? Then, contact our law office today so that we can start preparing your personalized estate planning checklist.