Doesn’t everything just go to my spouse?
Many people make the incorrect assumption that their assets automatically go to their spouse when they pass. In most cases, this isn’t automatic. When a person dies without a will, the spouse often has to split any separate property with the deceased person’s parents or children. It can be confusing to determine what counts as separate or community property. It’s important to speak with a Long Beach estate planning attorney so that you have a thorough understanding of how the laws apply in your case.
Planning for children
Another answer to – Why do estate planning? – is to make a contingency plan for children. If you prepare an advance directive, you can name who cares for your children in the event that you’re not able to provide them care. Without this document, the state decides who gets your children. This can leave the children in limbo between fighting relatives during what’s already a difficult time.
It’s also important to prepare estate planning to help manage a child’s finances until they’re old enough to control their own affairs. You can create a trust for your children’s expenses. Without a trust, the person that cares for this money on behalf of the children might misuse it. With a trust for the children’s benefit, you can dictate that this money pay only for educational expenses, living expenses or anything else that you feel is appropriate.
Special needs children
If you have a special needs child, it’s urgent that you create an estate plan or set up a conservatorship to assist them. Without a plan, your child can lose eligibility for state-sponsored programs that pay for care. Your child might have to pay for care using their own inheritance. With a little bit of estate planning, this is avoidable. An estate planning attorney can help you make sure that your child and their assets are protected if the unexpected occurs.
Taxes and distribution
Another answer to – Why do estate planning? – is to plan to minimize taxes and to make sure that your intended recipients receive your assets. Inheritance laws often change quickly and quietly, so it’s important to work with an experienced attorney who can help you in light of the current state of the law. These options can also help you make sure that your heirs receive your assets more quickly than they might if they have to wait for assets to make their way through probate court.
A plan is also helpful if you own a business or share ownership of a business or property with family. You can choose who controls the business in the event that you’re not able to manage it yourself. This can make sure that the results of your hard work stay in the family or wherever you choose.
Work with Hannah
If you don’t have an estate plan or if you need an update, we invite you to contact us. Estate planning is about taking care of yourself and your family. No two situations are alike, so an experienced attorney can help you create the best course of action given your situation and your wishes. Estate planning is the caring and responsible choice for you and your loved ones.
Let’s work together to give you the peace of mind to know that you’re protected no matter what happens.