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Do You Need an Estate Plan?

Do You Need an Estate Plan?

Troy Werner and his family

Written by Troy Werner

Troy Werner has been an indispensable asset to The Werner Law Firm since joining in 2009, providing exceptional legal service to its clients.

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POSTED ON: March 6, 2024

Estate planning is a vital aspect of financial planning that is essential to ensure that one’s assets are protected, loved ones taken care of and the decedent’s wishes are followed.

Estate planning is the process of getting assets organized during your lifetime, so they are efficiently and properly distributed after your passing. According to a recent article from The Record-Courier, “Estate planning a complex process,” estate planning includes making decisions about fiduciaries, determining who will be in charge of your affairs if you become incapacitated and after you die, as well as who you want to be your beneficiary.

Everyone should have an estate plan, regardless of their age or the size of their estate. Estate plans are also not only for wealthy people. It gives you control over financial and healthcare decisions during incapacity and ensures that your wishes are fulfilled, reducing the potential for family disputes and legal conflicts.

Multiple legal documents make up your estate plan, including wills, trusts, and power of attorney. Core documents in the estate plan include:

  • Will: a document specifying how your assets are to be distributed upon death and allowing for a nomination of a guardian for minor children.
  • Trust: a document creating a legal entity to hold and manage assets during your lifetime, in incapacity, and after death through specific instructions.
  • Power of Attorney for financial decisions: a document granting another person, known as your agent or attorney-in-fact, the authority to make legal and financial decisions on your behalf.
  • Healthcare Power of Attorney: a document granting another person, also referred to as an agent or attorney-in-fact, the authority to make healthcare decisions.
  • Living Will: a document outlining end-of-life decisions.

What happens in the absence of an estate plan? In the case of incapacity, a court order may be needed to authorize a family member to make health and financial decisions. Upon death, with no estate plan, the state laws regarding the distribution of assets will be followed, regardless of your wishes.

Estate plans must be created and revised every three to five years. Unseen circumstances can arise at any time, and it’s best to have a plan in place so that when an emergency occurs, the right documents and plans are set.

Can you do an estate plan on your own? Working with an experienced estate planning attorney will avoid having a court find your estate plan invalid or having healthcare professionals tell your loved ones they cannot be involved in your care.

Estate planning can seem overwhelming. However, it can be managed, and having it done properly will alleviate a great deal of uncertainty for you and your family.

If you want to get your estate plan started but don't know where to begin, we can help. Contact The Werner Law Firm today. Our probate attorneys in Los Angeles can guide you through it.

If you have any questions, schedule a free appointment with us through our online appointment page.

You can also read reviews from some of the hundreds of clients we have helped over the years.

Reference: The Record Courier (Jan. 13, 2024) “Estate planning a complex process”

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Founded in 1975 by L. Rob Werner and serving California for over 48 years, our dedicated attorneys are available for clients, friends, and family members to receive the legal help they need and deserve. You can trust in our experience and reputation to help navigate you through your unique legal matters.

Whether you need help creating a living trust or navigating probate, our living trust law firm's compassionate team of estate planning lawyers and probate lawyers are here to help you and ready to answer your questions.

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If you're dealing with a legal matter, we urge you to schedule a free initial appointment today and join the many satisfied clients who have contacted Werner Law Firm.

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