If you are like a lot of California adults, you have postponed or maybe not even thought much about creating an estate plan. You might assume that you do not need a plan because you have few assets, or you may simply not want to think about it. The process can also seem intimidating. However, estate planning is important for protecting your loved ones and ensuring that they are cared for in the way that you would want.
Relieve the burden for loved ones
If you do not create an estate plan, you are considered to have died intestate. This means that the state will determine what happens to your assets. While this might seem like the easiest solution for you, it can leave your family fighting over those assets. It can also cause them distress if they do not know what you would have wanted to happen to those assets. This probate process in the absence of an estate plan can be expensive as well as stressful. Depending on what types of assets you have and the value of your estate, your beneficiaries might owe more taxes than they would if you had created an estate plan as well. Estate planning can ensure assets are distributed as you wish them to be.
Making plans for your children
One of the main reasons to create an estate plan is to protect minor children. You can appoint a guardian for your children in your will. Otherwise, a person has to go through a long and complicated court process to become their guardian, and it might not be a person that you would have chosen.
Working with an attorney to create the estate plan can help ensure that it is prepared correctly. You may also want to talk to your family about the plan so that they understand your wishes. Once you have created the plan, you do need to review it periodically and after any major changes in your family, such as marriages, births, or divorces, to ensure that it is still up to date.