Many people have heard stories of celebrities or even people they know dying without a will. This often makes the distribution of an estate complicated and costly. Even with this knowledge, many California families struggle with estate planning, sometimes putting it off until it is too late. However, there are numerous benefits to creating a comprehensive estate plan and simplifying the probate process may be reason enough to make it a priority in the new year.
It is important to know upfront that having a will and other estate plan directives doesn’t automatically mean that one’s estate will not go through probate – in fact, wills must be probated to document their validity. However, it can make the entire matter happen much more quickly, which often translates to a lower cost and more money for one’s heirs. It may also be about much more than the distribution of assets, as estate plans often contain instructions for handling a business or who should care for children, if applicable.
The public probate process may disclose a great deal of financial or other information that the estate owner preferred to be private. Those who use an estate plan to outline directives for a trust, whether that trust is established while the owner is alive or upon one’s passing, may keep many details out of the public eye. Furthermore, a trust may have more specific directions for asset distribution than a will may provide. If an estate owner is diligent about beneficiary designations, for a trust and for any financial accounts, these measures can streamline the distribution of assets at the appropriate time.
The estate planning process can feel overwhelming for many people, but that doesn’t make it any less necessary. Those who aren’t sure where to begin may want to explore their options with an estate planning attorney here in California. A knowledgeable legal advocate can help families design an estate plan that meets their specific needs.