Estate planning is one of the most considerate and selfless acts you can gift your family or close loved ones for the future. Although most people don't like the thought of departing from this life or the possibility of becoming incapacitated, estate planning can take a load off your shoulders and those you hold most dear. In addition, you will benefit from estate planning if you have any assets and people to give them to, regardless of financial status or age.
We have listed the importance of estate planning and the different ways you can go about doing so. After reading the following, it is our hope you discover a newfound sense of security and confidence if and/or when you decide to prepare your estate plan.
WHAT DOES ESTATE PLANNING INCLUDE?
A California Estate Plan generally includes a Living Trust and/or a Living Will for starters and requires a specialized California Estate Planning Attorney to put the plan in place.
HOW IS ESTATE PLANNING HELPFUL FOR YOUR LOVED ONES?
-It takes the stress out of guessing your wants.
When something unfortunate happens to someone we love, it can cause all sorts of emotions, not to mention a foggy-headed mindset. Trying to predict what that person would have wanted in a dire time of need are decisions that can be difficult to make for another.
-Provides security for your children.
Suppose you pass without a surviving spouse or guardian to care for your children or dependents. In that case, the court will appoint a person (usually someone from within your family) to care for the children. However, a third-party person or friend of the family can petition the court to be the child's guardian. But should a deplorable situation occur where the minor or dependent has no surviving family, and no one from a third party steps forward to claim them, they will become a ward of the state and enter into the foster care system. Having a Will or Trust naming one or more persons to care for your child will eliminate such things from happening.
WHAT IS A LIVING TRUST VS. A WILL?
Although a Will and a Trust have similarities, there are also distinct differences. They both indicate where your assets will go after you pass away. One significant difference is that a Will does not go into effect until you pass away. A Living Trust becomes effective immediately after you have signed and funded it.
If you want to determine who inherits your property, then at a minimum, you should execute a will if you want more control over the distribution of your assets. Here are other points to consider:
A Living Trust with a healthcare proxy removes the guesswork for your loved ones. In addition, having a healthcare proxy ensures that any desires for or against medical treatment will be noted and upheld.
A Living Trust avoids probate. Without a Trust, your estate will go through the probate process, which can take time and money. During probate, your assets will be held up and untouchable.
It's vital to transfer your assets (such as bank accounts and property titles) into your Living Trust once it has been created! Unfortunately, this is an important step that many overlook. Without finalizing the transfer of assets, your surviving family members will have difficulty fulfilling your wishes.
One final piece of advice when looking to hire an Estate Attorney to put your arrangements in place is to take your time and research to find an honest and reputable attorney to assist you.
Matadors Community Credit Union has partnered with Affinity Trusts to help Members with their Estate Planning. Learn more about this important topic at our upcoming Estate Planning Webinar on Wednesday, August 3, 2023, at 5:00 pm.