What's Included In Your Estate Plan?
At my practice, The Law Office of Araceli Tovar, APC, based in Chula Vista, many of my clients do not realize what goes into a comprehensive estate plan. They have either put some parts of a plan into effect or want to know what they need to do to ensure that their plan covers all of the necessary bases.
As an estate planning attorney with over two decades of experience, I wanted to tell you more about what may be included in your estate plan. I will explain each of these documents in detail and discuss with you whether or not you need them for your plan. The documents most often included in estate plans are:
- A will: In a will, you are able to clearly specify which property should go to certain individuals. If the court recognizes the will as valid, the assets will be distributed to the beneficiaries as intended. This helps avoid property passing according to California's intestacy laws, which apply when no valid will is in place.
- Trusts: Trusts help you pass certain property outside of the probate process. They may be revocable or irrevocable, depending upon what is best for your situation. They can help you pass along cash assets or real property to beneficiaries.
- Powers of attorney: These documents are extremely important because they allow you to appoint someone to make decisions for you in the event you are incapacitated. They are most commonly associated with financial matters and health care concerns.
- Health care directives or living wills: This allows you to definitely state the type and extent of medical care you should receive if you are unable to express your concerns. It generally refers to whether or not life-sustaining treatment should be administered if you cannot communicate consent to such care.
The documents included as part of your plan will depend on the specific objectives you wish to accomplish. Each plan I create is custom made, so you can be certain the estate plan you have in place is tailored to carry out your final wishes as efficiently as possible.