Preparing and planning for the future can feel overwhelming, but it does not have to be. At Pakpour Banks LLP, our Davis estate planning lawyers take their time understanding you, your family, your finances, and your goals. With that information, we create an individualized estate plan that protects your assets, provides for your family, and fulfills your legacy.
What Is Estate Planning?
There is a misconception that estate planning is all about deciding who gets your assets when you die. While that is true, estate planning encompasses much more than that. The estate planning process involves strategically arranging your assets, designating trustworthy persons to handle your affairs, and putting your wishes on paper. As you develop your estate plan, you make important decisions about medical care, family needs, charitable donations, and your legacy. Speak with a Davis estate planning lawyer today!
Why Is Estate Planning Important?
Estate planning is just as important for a single person nearing retirement as it is for a young married couple. If you own any assets in your name, estate planning is essential.
Control Your Assets
Dying without an estate plan means you give up control over your assets. For example, if you die without a will, the probate court distributes your property according to California’s intestate succession law. Essentially, the law decides which family members inherit your estate. With the help of our Davis estate planning attorneys, we can put your wishes on paper, so these default laws do not apply. There are also strategic ways to arrange your assets and protect them from creditors and lawsuits.
Plan for the Unplanned
Estate planning is not just about life after death. A comprehensive estate plan includes documents that come into play if you lose decision-making capacity. For example, if you are in a serious accident or suffer from an illness that leaves you incapacitated, what will happen to your family? Who will manage your finances? Who will make decisions about your medical care? Without an estate plan, your family has the unpleasant task of guessing what you would have wanted. If necessary, a court may have to intervene and appoint someone to care for you—someone you might not want serving in that role. Let our Davis estate planning attorneys build a plan that anticipates events during and after your life.
Prevent Family Disagreements
When someone passes away, raw emotions often emerge. Deep-seated feelings between family members can turn a simple disagreement into a court battle. Not only is estate litigation costly, but it can forever damage a family. By making your instructions clear with your estate plan, you can stop family discord before it starts.
There are many powerful estate planning tools that can save you and your family money. Our Davis trust lawyers know how to create trusts that can minimize tax burdens and avoid the costly probate process.
When Is the Best Time to Create Your Estate Plan?
The right time to do your estate planning is now. We understand that it can be uncomfortable thinking about and planning for your death or incapacity, but it is necessary. Give yourself and your family peace of mind knowing you have a solid plan in place.
What Documents Should You Include in Your Estate Plan?
Every person has different needs and goals. Thus, every estate plan is unique. However, there are basic documents that make up a thorough estate plan.
Last Will and Testament
A last will and testament (or will) is the fundamental document that most people include in their estate plan. This is where you have your final say regarding your assets. In your will, you can also appoint an executor to administer your estate and select a guardian for any minor or disabled children. Our lawyers can draft a will that protects your assets, family, and legacy.
Although not everyone needs to create a trust, they can be impactful. A trust is a legal entity that owns property and is managed by a trustee for the benefit of someone else. The trust creates a fiduciary relationship between the trustee and the beneficiary, so they are sophisticated estate planning vehicles. Trusts come in many forms and can serve different purposes, from special needs planning to charitable giving. A trust commonly used in estate plans is the revocable or living trust. This trust is designed to keep assets out of your estate and ultimately avoid probate.
At Pakpour Banks LLP, our lawyers know how to craft sophisticated trusts that meet your needs.
Powers of Attorney
A power of attorney is a legal document that gives someone (the agent) decision-making power over you. The agent’s authority can be limited or broad and take effect immediately or when a certain event occurs. There are several different types of powers of attorney, but anyone over 18 years old should have a durable power of attorney. This gives the agent authority to make financial decisions if you lose the mental or physical ability to do so yourself.
Advance Healthcare Directive
An advance healthcare directive specifies your medical care preferences. If you become unable to communicate your wishes, your family, doctors, and healthcare agent will look to this document when making decisions. With an advance healthcare directive, you provide instructions on end-of-life care, pain management, organ donation, and burial arrangements.
Many people sign a medical power of attorney in conjunction with their advance medical directive. This grants an agent the power to make decisions about your medical care. Keep in mind that if there are no instructions about a certain medical treatment, your agent uses his or her discretion for you. So you want to select someone you trust.
Contact the Davis Estate Planning Attorneys at Pakpour Banks LLP Today
It is not uncommon to see families torn apart after losing a loved one. At Pakpour Banks LLP, our goal is to bring families together. Our Davis estate planning lawyers can develop a plan that works for you and your family now and into the future.
Our experienced lawyers handle clients with other types of cases as well, including: