For those who are not sure on whether or not it’s necessary to start estate planning -- here are some important questions to ask that will help in making an educated decision:
Is it needed even when the estate is small? Whether an estate is big or small, most people (if not all of the people) should focus on estate planning. This includes working to establish a Will or a Trust, Power of Attorney, Advance Directive, and Medical Authorization. Having these documents will assign a specific person that makes medical and financial decisions for the estate owner while living. This process also allows an owner to plan for the distribution of assets after death, avoiding possible chaos between and among loved ones/family members left behind.
Without a Will or Trust, what will become of the assets after the owner’s death? Assets will pass to the surviving owner(s) or to the intended beneficiaries. In case the assets do not have a joint owner or a beneficiary, it will be subject to probate. In other words, the assets in Rancho Santa Fe, CA are brought to court for inventory and for other legal issues that need to be done such as paying taxes.
Should Power of Attorney or Advance Directive be included in estate planning? Yes, as they play a crucial role when an estate/asset owner becomes incapable of making their own decisions due to illness or aging. The Advance Directive appoints a primary and alternate health care representative to make medical decisions on behalf of the owner. The Power of Attorney appoints a person that will manage the finances on behalf of the owner.
How much does it cost to hire an estate planning lawyer in Rancho Santa Fe, CA? While most states allow lawyers to charge by the hour or a flat rate for a probate work, it’s different in California. The state allows lawyer to charge what is commonly referred to as a “statutory fee” or a percentage amount from the value of the assets that go through probate process.