Many people will go out of their way to avoid talking about illness, death, and money. The reality is we all get older and eventually need help from others. The more prepared you are today, the easier it will be for everyone down the road.
Estate planning should be approached in the same manner that you would approach any other important decision in your life. If you haven’t had these discussions with your family, it may be time to start laying the groundwork by putting the following documents in place.
A Trust- This is the best channel to keep your money and other assets safe and secure for your future generations. A Trust ensures that a designated Trustee will have control over funds after death.
For farm families, having a trust in place is also essential for business continuity in the event the owner dies or is incapacitated. It further helps to avoid probate, which is time-consuming and expensive.
A Will – If you have a Trust, your Will ensures that all your assets, even ones you may have unintentionally left out of your Trust, will be subject to the Trust provisions. If you do not have a Trust, your Will contains important decisions regarding your assets, how your estate will be managed and custody and care of minor children.
Some folks believe that they don’t need a formal estate plan, including either a Trust or a Will, because they have made their intentions known to the next generation, or because they only have a limited number of heirs or few assets. However, if a decedent doesn’t have a Trust containing all assets, or a Will, in place at the time of death, the California Probate Code has a mandatory default plan to allocate the assets, regardless of the decedent’s wishes or the wishes of the decedent’s heirs.
Durable Power of Attorney- You need to appoint someone to make decisions if you are unable to do so. Should a person suffer a disability or incapacity, such that he or she becomes unable to manage his or her affairs, someone will need the legal authority to act for that person.
Advance Health Care Directive with Appointment of Health Care Agent- This will tell doctors your wishes regarding which medical or life support procedures, you do or don’t want and will authorize someone to speak for you if you cannot speak for yourself. It can also include your preferences for organ and tissue donation, and burial and funeral preferences.Estate planning ensures that the farm will be passed along to the intended party with as few complications as possible. Making sure that your wishes are carried out both during lifetime and after death is worth an investment of time,
Estate planning ensures that the farm will be passed along to the intended party with as few complications as possible. Making sure that your wishes are carried out both during lifetime and after death is worth an investment of time, energy, and dollars to make sure it is done right.Equally important as having conversations about estate planning with your family, is encouraging they do their own estate planning and documenting their financial and medical care preferences.
Equally important as having conversations about estate planning with your family, is encouraging they do their own estate planning and documenting their financial and medical care preferences.
Make sure that when the time comes that your family is prepared for a smooth transition of your legacy, which you have done through your estate planning.
Paulla is a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law* and provides quality legal counsel for all levels of complexity in estate planning, trust administration, probate, special needs trusts, elder law, and business succession and tax planning. In addition to Paulla’s experience in law, she spent nine years as an elementary and middle school teacher for the Yuba City Unified and Franklin Elementary School Districts. Paulla is married to Brad McIntire and their family includes daughters Jackie and Katie and son Zach.
*State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization