Before creating your estate plan, it's helpful to spend some time thinking about what you hope to accomplish with the planning process.The following is a handy checklist of some of the most common goals of an estate plan:
- Does it outline whom you wish to manage your affairs if you were to become temporarily incapacitated, permanently disabled, or pass away?
- Does it plan for added expense of potential nursing home care or long-term healthcare at home?
- Does it help you avoid probate and get assets quickly distributed to heirs?
- Are assets inherited by heirs protected from division in lawsuits or divorce claims?
- If you're on your second marriage, does it ensure that all family members are provided for according to your wishes?
- If applicable, have you named a guardian for your minor children?
- If applicable, does it provide for heirs with special needs?
- If applicable, does it provide support for your favorite charitable causes?
- If applicable, does it contain the provisions that are needed to make sure your small business will continue to run smoothly?
- Does the plan prevent or discourage challenges by heirs after you pass away?
As you can see from the list above, estate planning goes far beyond catering to the needs of the wealthy. Everyone, regardless of their income level, needs a properly prepared estate plan.
Although there are many forms online promising a DIY estate planning fix, these are general documents that don't take into account each person's specific needs as well as the constantly changing state laws. Working with a skilled attorney also ensures that you minimize the taxes imposed on your estate, thus allowing your heirs to keep a larger share of their inheritances.
How Can We Help?
If you are in need of assistance creating an estate plan, please call our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at info@PasadenaLawOffice.com. Our Pasadena estate planning firm can help you evaluate your options and create an estate plan that best addresses your unique needs.