Although It seems like such a basic concept; generally everyone needs an estate plan. When a person dies without a valid estate plan, the laws of the state in which they lived will determine who receives the decedent’s assets and controls their legacy after death. Without an estate plan in place, you have no say in what happens, and the chances of a legal battle between your heirs increase dramatically.
An estate plan is necessary for many reasons, not just the distribution of your assets after you pass away. A good estate plan consists of many legal documents that serve different purposes. For example, a durable power of attorney allows you to nominate an individual to make financial decisions on your behalf when you are unable to do so. A healthcare power of attorney is a legal document that allows the person or persons you nominate to make healthcare-related decisions if you become incapacitated. If you do not grant another person to make these decisions, someone may have to petition the court for the authority to do so and it may not be the person that you would choose.
Studies consistently show that between 60-75% of adult Americans don’t have an estate plan. Estate plans can consist of a will or a trust and a will. It is important that you have one or both in place if you have assets and intend for them to be distributed according to your intentions. There are significant benefits to having a trust and a will and a good estate planning attorney will discuss what documents would be in your best interests.
Led by Steven D. Penrose, a California Bar Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law, the attorneys at Penrose Chun & Gorman LLP prepare individually tailored estate planning documents designed to mirror our clients’ intentions and simplify the estate administration process.