What Needs to be Included in an Estate Plan in California?

Developing an estate plan can feel strange as you must determine what property you want to pass on to others when your time comes. However, an estate plan is a vital step in ensuring that your family is well taken care of in your absence. If you or a family member require legal assistance to develop an estate plan, contact an experienced Sacramento estate planning attorney today. At the NewPoint Law Group, we are dedicated to helping our clients develop a unique estate plan that works for them. The NewPoint Law Group explains what you must have in your estate plan.

Legal Documents You Need in a Fundamental Estate Plan

A fundamental estate plan typically encompasses a number of documents that are created for the purpose of passing on your personal and real property after your death. An estate plan examines all the property owned by the creator and determines the best way to convey that property to family members, favorite organizations, and other beneficiaries the creator has named. The following is a list of legal documents that you need in an estate plan.

Wills

A will is a legal document that is used to divide property among various beneficiaries after the testator (will creator) passes away. You may believe that a will is a tool that is primarily used by people who possess a large amount of wealth that they want to pass on to members of the family. However, that could not be farther from the truth.

Every person should invest in a will when creating an estate plan as they are the foundation of any good estate plan. When passing property through a will, the testator can convey particular items or real estate to a member of their family or an organization they admire. A will should be typewritten and signed by the testator in the presence of uninterested witnesses to ensure that it is valid. While handwritten wills are valid in California, a testator must ensure they meet all criteria to ensure the will is not invalidated during probate administration.

If you do not have a will, your property will be passed on through intestate succession. If a person dies intestate, it means that the state will distribute their property to their heirs as they believe the deceased would want the property to be distributed. However, if you wish to provide for a certain family member, they may not receive what you intended for them to have. Instead, your property could pass to a family member that you have an attenuated relationship with.

Living Trust

A living trust is essentially an account that is established for the benefit of a third party. The grantor or trustee of the trust could be responsible for transferring money or property into the trust to be held for the beneficiary. Living trusts are often utilized in conjunction with a will to circumvent the expensive probate process in California. A trust can contain property that was not passed on through the testator’s will.

There are multiple types of trusts that a grantor could create. One of the most common forms of trusts is a revocable trust. A revocable trust allows the trustee to remove or alter property that was added to the trust, as well as alter the terms of a trust. Irrevocable trusts are also a tool that can be used for estate planning.

General Power of Attorney

A general power of attorney allows the creator to convey power to a representative to manage the property and other financial situations for the creator. It is important to grant this authority to a person that you can trust to ensure they do not take advantage of your finances.

Additionally, it is wise to create a durable general power of attorney. This document allows the representative to continue to make choices for you in the event that you become incapacitated and cannot make decisions for yourself.

There are other legal documents that you should consider adding to your estate plan. For example, if you are worried that a chronic illness could seriously affect your health in the future, you should consider an advanced health care directive. This would allow a family member or other chosen representative to carry out your wishes if you cannot make health care decisions on your own.

Contact Our Experienced California Estate Planning Attorneys Today

If you or a family member need help to create an estate plan, contact an experienced California estate planning attorney today. The legal team at the NewPoint Law Group have decades of legal experience with planning estates for our clients, and we would be honored to represent you. We will ensure your wishes to care for your family will be properly recorded as you intended. To schedule a confidential legal consultation to discuss your estate plan, contact Sacramento tax attorneys at the NewPoint Law Group at 1-800 358-0305, or contact us online.

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