Many people believe that if they don't set up a Will or Trust, that the State of California will distribute their assets appropriately to their family members. This can be the result, based upon what your final wishes are, but if you have different wishes, the law may override those wishes or give up certain rights.
Many people also believe that if they don't have a Will or Trust that the State of California will keep all of their property. The legal term for the state keeping your property is called "escheating." This happens either if your financial institution or other entity has not heard from you for a number of years, or you pass away without any surviving family members or relatives.
An Estate Plan, Will, and/or Trust will help to:
- Carry out your specific wishes,
- Prevent disagreements and make decisions easier for family members,
- Reduce stress and conflict for your family. and
- Potentially minimize or eliminate estate taxes.
Some Estate Planning documents may be complicated while others are simpler. Be sure to seek sound legal advice to determine what is important for you to address when you are needing assistance in handling your own affairs, if you are incapacitated, or after you have passed away.
Planning for these issues includes:
- Deciding how you would like your property to be managed,
- Distributing your property,
- Planning for who would take care of your children,
- Determining who would provide for your personal care and make decisions for you when you are unable to make your own decisions or are needing assistance,
- Preparing the documents that make your preferences clear regarding your health care and life-sustaining medical treatment for end-of-life decisions.