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Estate planning is not one size fits all

Estate planning is a multi-faceted process. That’s why many California residents find they need guidance as far as designing their estate plans. Someone who has experienced a recent life change, such as gaining an inheritance or the birth of a child, may want to think about the process.

Some individuals who wish to create an estate plan may not know where to start, especially if they feel uncomfortable discussing what happens to assets after death. However, failure to make up an estate plan now could create issues among heirs.

Estate plans ensure that wishes are clearly defined so there is little or no question as to the allocation of assets after death. For example, estate planning can ensure educational funds are set aside for children and grandchildren, real estate and its proceeds are properly allocated and trusts are assigned the proper beneficiaries. Also, many estate plans can outline one’s wishes should incapacitation occur.

Estate plans vary according to circumstance, and it’s advisable to review them annually, especially if there has been a notable life-changing event. For example, a divorce can have a profound effect on a plan as beneficiaries will probably change. Also, those who have started businesses may find that they need to set up succession plans. Furthermore, individuals with life insurance policies might want to complete some updates as circumstances change.

Setting up an estate plan can be overwhelming because the documents are unique and events often suggest which avenues to take. An experienced estate planning lawyer can discuss available options, offer recommendations and prepare and file the proper paperwork. Knowledgeable legal counsel may also review existing estate plans and make suggestions for possible revisions.

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