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Estate planning basics

Most people are aware that they need to create an estate plan, but they may not know what the steps are. California residents shouldn’t be embarrassed if they aren’t familiar with everything that an estate plan entails as most people are unclear on the topic. Contrary to popular belief, estate planning isn’t a daunting process, and the benefits far outweigh any difficulties.

Incapacitation

Many people incorrectly believe that an estate plan is primarily about a written plan of who gets their assets after their death. However, a complete estate plan also puts a written, legally binding plan in place in the event that the person writing it becomes incapacitated. This part of the plan allows you to name a trustee to watch over your estate and act on your behalf during the incapacitation as well.

Fiduciaries

One of the most important parts of an estate plan is the ability to name different people to different positions of responsibility within your estate. Instead of placing all of the responsibility on one person, naming different people to positions such as “trustee” and “executor” ensures that none of your loved ones become overwhelmed by the potentially lengthy process of settling an estate.

Taxes

Even after your death, there are typically still taxes that have to be considered. An estate plan gives you the opportunity to create a plan on how to pay taxes for any retirement accounts or other assets. This ensures that your beneficiaries won’t be blindsided by a large tax bill after everything is settled.

While the process of estate planning does force you to face your own mortality, it also provides the opportunity to ensure that all of your wishes are being met and your loved ones are well taken care of. Anyone beginning the estate planning process may wish to contact an attorney to help guide their client through the process.

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