When most people think of estate planning, they assume it doesn’t affect them for a variety of reasons: not enough assets, being single or being relatively young. The truth is that estate planning address these issues while you’re still alive and those that occur after you pass away and it’s a good idea to have an estate plan in place regardless of your current age.

Most people assume that getting an estate plan means simply putting together a will but it goes so much further than that. The will is your legal document that drafts what you want to happen to your property when you pass away but it is only the cornerstone of your estate planning. A will has to be admitted to probate in California to be effective which could be an extensive and lengthy process. This is why many people also choose to use a living trust. This is a legal arrangement in which the trustee owns the property and holds it for the benefit of named beneficiaries.

A living trust also can be changed and updated throughout your life, which means you can update it without having to go to court. Don’t forget a durable power of attorney in your California estate plan. This is a document that grants another individual authority over your property and your financial transactions. Finally, an advanced health care directive should become a component of your California estate plan.

You must have a power of attorney for health care and also might choose to give specific instructions for health care that your doctors and the person who has been appointed must follow. This means that you can direct what happens in your future and reduce the possibilities for confusion and conflict in the event that an incapacitating issue occurs.

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