Estate plans, just like wills, are issues we rarely give any attention to during our prime age. We’re too much engrossed in creating wealth such that we don’t have time to address critical issues that may affect our lives during our advanced years. Estate planning is a broad topic addressing matters like the distribution of assets, children’s support, medical issues, etc. Want to know how to handle estate planning? The following steps can simplify matters.
Hire the Perfect Estate Planning Attorney
In establishing a practical estate plan, work with an attorney to create a power of attorney. This document authorizes the endorsed individual to make necessary medical and financial decisions on your behalf when you’re incapacitated. The decisions may include insurance management, liquidation of investments to pay for hospital bills, and more. Working with the best estate planning law firm in Los Angeles ensures your power of attorney document is entrusted to the right hands, and it’s actualized accurately as per your wishes.
Choose Between a Revocable Living Trust and Will
After hiring a trusted and experienced estate planning lawyer, you should decide whether to opt for a will or revocable living trust. A will is only be actualized when you’re dead, while a revocable trust becomes active immediately after you’ve signed the documents. As with a trust, you still have total control over its implementation while alive, but once you’re dead or incapacitated, the individual you sanctioned to manage the trust can take control immediately.
The perfect bet for everyone who wants an easy time handling their estate planning is to go for both a revocable trust and a will. A living revocable trust gives you total control over what happens to your estate plans as time goes on. You are at the liberty to change the allocation of assets and the trustee anytime you want as years go by.
Have a Plan of What You Want to be Done In case of Mental Incapacitation
Disability, whether physical or mental, can wreck your happy lifestyle and introduce you to a world of grief you’ve never imagined you would ever experience. The worst situation is when you have no finances or plan to maneuver through the situation. While we rarely think and plan for it, disability can occur to anyone at any time in their life. If you don’t set the right disability plan in place in your prime years, you might end up losing your property to the wrong individuals.
A well-thought-out and planned disability plan will keep you and the property safe from conservatorship or court-supervised guardianship. That means incapacitation, whether mental or physical, won’t make your family lose you and the empire you have spent years building.
Decide What Happens When You’re no More
Now that you have a disability plan fully documented, decide how the property you’ve acquired will be shared with your living loved ones. Decide exactly how and who you want to inherit the different things itemized in your will. It’s your sole decision to determine if you wish the estate you’ve built over the years to be willed to charity, family, or friends. It’s also your sole decision to plan on how much each mentioned entity will get from the will, alongside deciding when they will get what you’ve willed to them.
While deciding, your lawyer will help you familiarize yourself with the community property laws and the elective share laws. That way you will understand what your spouse or children are eligible to receive from your estate. In most states and countries, you cannot cut your spouse out of your will unless they have waived all their inheritance rights through a postnuptial or prenuptial agreement. Seek the help of your attorney to find out if estate tax planning will be included in the plan by use of ABC or AB trusts.
If you have never thought of creating an estate plan, you have now understood the importance of setting one now. When you set your estate plan, you need to keep updating it every so often to reflect your core desires and wishes. Financial accounts, including brokerage accounts, insurance policies, and retirement savings accounts, should be directed to a target beneficiary and so talk with your lawyer to make the right decisions.
Author information: Regina Thomas is a Southern California native who spends her time as a freelance writer and loves cooking at home when she can find the time. Regina loves reading, music, hanging with her friends and family along with her Golden Retriever, Sadie. She loves adventure and living every day to the fullest.