Estate Planning 101: 4 Important Estate Planning Basics
October 31, 2015
Estate planning can be important to protecting your loved ones well into the future. As you get started with the estate planning process, the following are just some of the basics regarding what is important to know and what you should start seriously thinking about.Here’s What You Should Know
- A will is just a starting point – Wills are often the cornerstones of estate plans, but they are not typically the only estate planning feature that people need if they want to make sure that they and their loved ones are sufficiently protected in the future. In fact, if you are incapacitated for some reason, your will is not going to protect or help you. A power of attorney would. This is another important estate planning feature to develop, as it can designate who should make important medical and/or financial decisions for you if you fall into a coma or become incapacitated for any reason.
Probate can be avoidable – With the right estate planning, the majority of an estate(if not the entire thing) in some cases can avoid probate. This means that, instead of being tied up in court for months, the assets of an estate can be distributed to the designated beneficiaries relatively quickly. This can be a huge benefit to surviving loved ones who may need additional financial resources as soon as possible following the death of a loved one.
Your other estate planning goals should dictate other features you may need to put in place – And your estate planning goals will usually stem from your current personal situation. Do you have minor children you want to protect? Or family members with special needs who you may want to provide for in the future? What about a business – are you are business owner who may want to pass your shares on to a loved one? Whatever the personal details of your life are at the moment, there is likely an estate planning feature that can help you put the right protections in place for them now.
Making a plan to regularly update your entire estate plan is essential – This is something people can easily forget to do because, once they’ve put an estate plan in place, it can be easy to shelve it and get caught up in life again. At the very least, however, it is important to review and update an estate plan on an annual basis. This is because life changes, families change and the nature of an estate can evolve. Regularly reviewing and revising an estate plan will be essential to ensuring that it is up to date and reflective of your current beneficiaries, personal representative(s), estate and wishes.
Contact a seasoned Santa Clarita estate attorney at the Law Offices of Darrell C. Harriman when you are ready to discuss your estate planning needs, as well as your best options for moving forward. For more than 34 years, our attorney has been dedicated to providing his clients with personalized, highly responsive service, as well as superior representation for their important legal matters.
Call our firm at (818) 892-7093 or by filling out the contact form on this page.
From our offices based in North Hills, we provide the highest quality legal services to our clients throughout the San Fernando Valley, Simi Valley, Santa Clarita and the greater Los Angeles area.