A common misconception about estate planning is that only married couples with children need to create an estate plan. Not true!
A person with assets who cares about their future financial and medical needs should have an estate plan. Even as a single person, or someone without children, you most likely have possessions that matter to you. Though you may not be concerned with your assets; without an estate plan, your assets are subject to California’s intestate succession rules in which a court will decide which relatives are the most deserving of your possessions. The court will not take into account what type of relationship you have with your parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews. A trust will ensure that your possessions go to the people you want and it will ensure you stay out of court. A trust also allows you include specific requests or conditions to make sure they are carried out.
An estate plan also allows you to plan for your future both medically and financially. A Power of Attorney allows you to appoint an individual as your agent to act on your behalf for financial obligations should you lose capacity while you are living. Your agent will be able to step in and pay your bills and manage your finances the way you want them handled. If you don’t appoint an individual as your agent, the court will appoint an individual that they think will act in your best interest and it may not be the person you would have chosen yourself. An Advance Medical Directive will allow you to appoint a person to make medical and end-of-life decisions for you should you be deemed incapacitated.
Without an estate plan, you have no control over your affairs when you’re hurt or incapacitated. The state could appoint a distant relative to oversee your finances if you’re in the hospital or distribute your possessions to relatives that you barely know or have an estranged relationship with.
Contact Celaya Law to discuss the steps in setting up your estate plan so that you are taken care of.