Four Estate Planning Documents Every CA Resident Should Know About

  • Posted on: Jun 9 2019
  • By:

When many people think about estate planning documents, they often think of a Will. But while that is in fact an important estate planning document, it is certainly not the only one – and not the only one to know about. Estate planning consists of more than just planning. It consists of various legal documents that serve to help you to efficiently and effectively achieve your goals for your estate. Here are some of the most important documents to include in your estate plan. 

1. Will

One of the most important estate planning documents is a Will. A Will is a legal document that serves to inform how your assets are to be divided upon your death. When an individual does not have a Will, their assets will pass through California’s rules of intestacy. For most people this would not be how they would desire their property to be divided. 

The downside of a Will in California is that it must go through a probate process, which can be both time consuming and expensive. However, this can be avoided by constructing a very simple Will as well as a Living Trust.  Much more about Living Trusts in another blog.

2. Living Trust

A living trust is a legal document that holds assets for another individual or individuals as soon as certain factors have been met. It is one in which the trustee is designated and takes over the property for purposes of division when the creator of it becomes incapacitated or passes. Living trusts are chosen for the reason that they do not have to pass through the probate process. They are instead utilized in conjunction with a Will, which can be used to pass assets that have not been transferred to the trust. 

A living trust, also known as a “revocable trust,” can be changed or cancelled (revoked) at any time while you are alive. 

3. General Durable Power of Attorney

When an individual becomes too sick or otherwise incapacitated to make decisions, a general durable power of attorney allows for someone else to make financial and property decisions for you. The individual to whom you assign this responsibility should be someone whom you trust fully, as you will no longer be able to make decisions and change this individual once you are deemed incapacitated. 

4. Advance Health Care Directive

Similar to a general durable power of attorney, a statutory advance health care directive can be used to provide someone else with the authority to make decisions on your behalf when you become incapacitated. However, this authority is to make health care decisions for you. However, you are able to provide your own instructions to be followed following your incapacity. For example, one of the decisions that you will make is whether you should receive life-sustaining treatment or should not be resuscitated in certain situations. You can also dictate whether or not you wish to be an organ donor. 

The Law Offices of Brian L. Fox, APLC Help Those in CA Who Are Looking to Plan for the Future

As you can see, having a properly drafted Will is extremely important when it comes to protecting your interests and assigning assets to certain people. However, it is not the only document that holds significant value and should be at least considered – if not executed. At the Law Offices of Brian L. Fox, we work with our clients to ensure that their assets and interests are well protected and we work to ensure that this is done properly and adequately. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, schedule a request or call us at 805-658-9204 today.

Posted in: Estate Planning