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Estate Planning Frequently Asked Questions

As an experienced estate planning attorney, I hear a lot of common questions from my potential clients. They want to know what they need to do and when they need to do it in order to ensure their loved ones have the protection and guidance needed at such a challenging time.

I want to take a moment to answer some of those questions. If you have additional concerns, I invite you to contact my firm, The Law Office of Araceli Tovar, APC, to schedule a consultation to discuss your specific questions.

Do I really need an estate plan?

A: This is a very common question from younger individuals. Whether you are single or married, the answer is yes; you probably do need an estate plan. For example, do you have investments? Have you and your spouse recently purchased a home or welcomed a child into your lives?

Answering yes to any of these questions means that you have something you need to take active steps to protect in the event you pass away. Whether it is distributing property to loved ones or naming a guardian for a child, you need an estate plan to ensure that your wishes will be addressed if and when the unexpected happens.

What are the benefits of having an estate plan?

A: The primary benefit of having an estate plan is to provide both you and your family with peace of mind. There will be clear guidance when you pass away about what should happen with certain property. This can help you keep your assets out of probate or from being distributed according to California's intestacy laws. You can also avoid litigation by designating who will receive your assets and who you trust to manage and distribute in the event of incapacity and death.

Is it necessary to work with an attorney?

A: You may have done some searches online and have come across instructions and forms that detail how you can carry out your final wishes. You need to understand that these instructions are one-size-fits-all, and take none of the specifics of your situation into account. This could leave significant gaps in your plan, or expose some of your assets to probate or other costly disputes.

An estate planning lawyer will help you fully explore all of the options that are available to you and tailor a plan that is specific to your wishes. You will be able to feel confident the plan you have in place is one that adequately addresses your specific needs, and does the best possible job of passing along your property to intended beneficiaries.