Why everyone needs an estate plan in California

Estate plans are just for older, wealthier people, right? Wrong. Everyone should have an estate plan, including young adults who don’t have a significant amount of wealth. An estate plan will make sure your wishes are known and pass on your possessions to the people you care about. 

Some readers may not know what an estate is or what it includes. An estate includes any real estate property you own as well as personal property like a vehicle or furniture. Your estate also includes financial accounts like bank accounts, retirement accounts, investments and even your Social Security benefits. Since your possessions and finances are part of your estate, it couldn’t be more important to create an estate plan to address what you want done with your estate.

An estate plan can include several different documents. At the very least, you should have a will. A will can document what will happen to your possessions and financial accounts. A will can also document who will take care of your children in the event you and their other parent pass away. 

In addition to having a will, you may want to consider having a few additional documents in your estate plan. You may want to have a durable power of attorney, which allows you to appoint someone else to make personal and financial decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated.

Another document to consider is an advance health care directive. This allows you to appoint someone to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are no longer able to. It also lets your loved ones and doctors know what life-sustaining medical treatments you want and don’t want. 

Creating an estate plan and thinking about your own death can be very depressing and difficult to do. However, individuals in California need to think about the benefits of having a will and other estate planning documents before it’s too late and create an estate plan now.

Source: Dallas News, “Everyone needs an estate plan, regardless of wealth,” Pamela Yip, May 2, 2014