Estate planning seems like an insurmountable challenge when you are not sure how to get started. That’s why it should come as no surprise that about 70% of Americans have no will and have done no estate planning. Unfortunately, leaving estate planning until later can have serious consequences. A lack of proper estate planning leaves chaos behind for your loved ones after you pass on. Not only will you have no say in how your possessions are passed on, but you’ll also have no way to help them minimize the burden of a lengthy probate made worse due to a lack of a trust.
Luckily, you can avoid these problems and get ahead of your estate planning today with just a few simple moves. Even if you own only a single asset or have a single bank account, you should begin the estate planning process. The more you get ahead on estate planning now, the easier it will be to ensure that your estate is passed on with minimal stress for your loved ones later. The following are three simple things you can do today to get ahead on your estate planning.
- Take inventory of your assets. It’s impossible to start the estate planning process unless you know what assets you currently own, and for most people, this is more complicated than it seems. You may think you have no major assets other than your car and home, but not all assets are so straightforward. Do you have a pension or a retirement fund? Have you paid into social security? Do you have any bank accounts or stocks? All these are important assets that you need to plan for.
- Draft a basic will and power of attorney. Wills and powers of attorney are the most basic estate planning instruments that every single person should have. There are many resources online that can help you get started drafting documents that will convey your wishes. At the very least, this will give you an idea of what to talk about when hiring an estate lawyer to help draft them for you.
- Find a California estate lawyer you trust. Estate planning is complex at any stage in life and it only gets more challenging as you get older. The best way to ensure that your estate planning is at the quality you need is to consult with a California estate lawyer. Your estate attorney can help make sure that the little eccentricities of California probate law are addressed and ensure that your wishes are clearly expressed. They can even save your beneficiaries’ time and money by minimizing probate. Find an estate attorney you trust now, and work with them as your situation changes throughout life. You’ll know that your estate will always be up-to-date and have the peace of mind that if anything happens to you unexpectedly, your loved ones will have someone trustworthy to consult.
Do all three of these things and you’ll be well on your way to having your affairs in order no matter what life throws at you. Of course, this alone isn’t sufficient for most estates. Estate planning in California can be quite complex, especially as your family or assets grow. That’s why it is important to keep your estate planning instruments up-to-date and to keep in regular contact with your estate lawyer. At Larsen Law, we believe in developing a relationship with each of our clients over the long term, so that we can best protect your wishes for your estate and your loved ones. Call us today to see if we may be able to help you and your family.