- An Estate Plan Conveys Your Wishes
Without an estate plan, most of your property will pass to your closest heirs. If you do not have children, this could be your spouse, parents, or other relatives. You may want to give your estate to someone else. For instance, you may have a niece or nephew whom you want to support, or a beloved pet. Making a plan conveys your wishes as to who will inherit.
In addition, an estate plan can convey your wishes about your own end-of-life care and financial situation. You can set up a California advance health care directive that includes a durable power of attorney. If you cannot care for yourself or make end-of-life arrangements, you can enlist a trusted friend or relative to be your agent. In addition, if you have financial obligations such as running a business, you can set up a financial power of attorney to allow someone else to act in your stead.
- You Can Give to Charity and Relatives
Without children, you may want to give your estate to a deserving charity or needy relatives. An estate plan establishes exactly who will receive your money and property after you pass away. You might want to investigate various charitable giving methods such as charitable trusts, donor advised funds, and pooled income trusts. Some of these methods can provide you with income from the property you put in trust during your lifetime, then contribute the property to the charity after your death.
If you would like to help a needy friend or relative, look into the many kinds of trusts that you can set up. You can place restrictions on how often and when the trust beneficiary receives money from the trust. For a beneficiary with debts, you may be able to structure the trust so that creditors cannot access money in it, and so that the beneficiary only gets money when he needs it.
- Plan for Your Future
Finally, an estate plan can help you plan for your future. Maybe you are thinking about traveling in retirement, or you have health problems that will need treatment. For travel savings, you can look to estate planning with income-generating investments that pass to your heirs later. For health problems, look at the types of insurance you may want to purchase and set up an advance directive.
Planning your estate? Look to Janet Brewer, Esq. for thorough and thoughtful estate planning advice. Janet’s more than 20 years of legal experience will give you confidence and peace of mind. To schedule a “Get Acquainted” meeting, visit Janet's website or call her office at (650) 469-8206.