Estate Planning is Vital for 2 Main Reasons
Most people have the impression that Estate Planning is the process of deciding who gets your property when you pass away. This is only one element of the process. Increasingly, it is becoming important to have an Estate Plan for yourself for while you are still alive, because more and more people face incidents of incapacity at some point in life, whether temporarily (due to an illness or accident), or permanently (due to a trauma or the onset of dementia).
Estate Planning is therefore not just for the people you will one day leave behind, but is also to make sure that if you are ever unable to make decisions for yourself, the people whom you designate to take care of you have the legal authority to do so without long and expensive court proceedings.
A proper estate plan therefore includes not only a simple Will or Trust, but all of the other supporting documents that allow you to hand over control of your finances and care to someone else, even if only temporarily, and regain that control when you are again able to. Of course, property distribution to your heirs is also an ultimate goal, but need not be the primary or even the most important aspect.
The Estate Planning attorneys at Lopez & Wilmert, LLP have participated first hand in the legal battles that occur when plans are not properly prepared or executed. We are available to work with you to custom-tailor a plan that makes sense for you and your family.
Benefits of a Sound Plan
Under California state law, even if you have a Will, without a proper estate plan in place your assets may be subject to Probate Proceedings. Probate cases can take months to years to be processed, depending on the complexity of the assets and the number of heirs. More troubling, the entire list of all of your assets will become public record, along with the names of everyone who will inherit any part of your estate. With a sound estate plan in place, if something should happen to you, the successors of your estate can normally complete the entire process in the privacy of our office with no public record, in much less time and at drastically lower cost. Speak with our attorneys either in our office in La Mesa, or in Chula Vista for further information.
Not Just for the Wealthy
Many people falsely assume that estate plans are only needed by those who are rich and have procured a large number of assets. This is far from the truth. In reality, everyone who has a desire to see their assets go to those they trust in the event of an incident needs a solid estate plan. The need for a complete plan is especially great for families with minor children or anyone who owns real estate. Less complicated plans may be all that is necessary for people with limited assets and no children, but virtually everyone should have some sort of plan that at least includes an Advance Healthcare Directive. At Lopez & Wilmert, LLP., we are happy to discuss your particular situation to determine whether you have a need for professional assistance. Our office can be reached via telephone at 619.589.1112.
House-calls Now Available
Although our estate planning services are normally delivered from our offices in La Mesa and Chula Vista, we now offer estate planning services conducted in your own home in a limited geographic area.
Please see our house-call page for more details.