Estate planning is often viewed as something that is only useful after death. Trusts in particular are considered good for avoiding probate, but the potential of these powerful estate tools is often underrated. People in California can use trusts to ensure that their assets are protected both in life and afterwards.
A last will and testament is probably the most well-known estate planning document. People in California use this powerful tool to pass on inheritances, name guardians for minor children and outline their final wishes. However, there is one thing that many people fail to account for in their wills -- the estate tax.
The number of Americans who have never created a will is astounding. Some figures put it at 70 percent. That means the heavy majority, if they passed away tomorrow, would have absolutely no plan in place to distribute their assets.
The time after the loss of a loved one can be emotionally fraught. As difficult as it is to deal with a family member's death, many people must go through the grieving process while also handling the deceased's estate. If you are like most people in California, this may be the first and only time you deal with the probate process, which can be extremely difficult.
Many people in California excuse their lack of a will by claiming that they do not care what happens to their possessions after they die. Although there may be some level of truth to this, most people certainly care about their loved ones and the effects of handling an estate. Here are just some of the problems that can arise when estate planning is overlooked.
Most estate plans usually include many different documents. A last will and testament, health care directives and various trusts all come together to create the most comprehensive plan possible, providing guidance for both end-of-life care and how an estate should be handled after a person's death. Living trusts can be incredibly useful for most people in California, especially during asset distribution.