Estate Planning

Estate planning involves issues of wealth preservation and management, control over one’s personal affairs during the last stages of life, and disposition of one’s property at time of death. Without a will or trust, the State of California will decide who gets your property under its intestacy laws. A proper estate plan includes the naming of a person or entity as Executor who will carry out the testator’s testamentary wishes. If one has children, it will specify the person to care for one’s children if one dies while the children are minors or disabled. Every person should have an estate plan regardless of the size of their estate. Documents typically associated with estate planning include the Last Will and Testament; a Revocable or Irrevocable Living or Testamentary Trust; Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care and Financial Management; Advanced Health Care Directive; Powers of Appointment; Disclaimers; Charitable Remainder Trusts; and other more sophisticated tax-minimization estate planning legal documents. The goal of estate planning is to avoid the probate process and its expense. Depending on the size of one’s estate, it may also seek to minimize the bite of federal or state estate taxation. Special needs trusts can be established to provide care for those with disabilities and to manage their finances.