California baby boomers may be thinking about retirement planning but failing to make estate plans alongside that. According to experts, adults of all ages tend to procrastinate about estate planning. However, the lack of a comprehensive plan could make a person's death even more difficult for loved ones.
When people turn 18, their parents no longer have the legal right to make important decisions regarding their healthcare or to have access to their health information. Accidents and serious illnesses can happen no matter how young or old a person may be, and it is important that those over 18 have documents in place to let their loved ones know how they want important medical decisions handled on their behalf.
Creating an estate plan that meets in individual's needs means understanding where he or she is in life. For instance, a child under age 18 does not need an estate plan because his or her parents will take care of any needs that may arise. Single adults may want to create a durable power of attorney and a living will to ensure that family members can make medical decisions based on that person's wishes.
In a time in which medical and scientific advances have progressed to a degree in which those near death and incapacitated in California can have their lives artificially sustained for long periods of time, living wills can be an important tool to have in place. Many people are uncomfortable with the thought of potentially spending years hooked up to machines when they are incapacitated, choosing rather to select the types of care they are willing to receive and noting the ones they wish to forgo.
As many California residents know, moving -- whether for a job, school or retirement -- has become a way of life for many Americans. While moving may herald an opportunity or the realization of a lifelong dream, it may affect one's estate plans in unexpected ways.
Orange County residents who intend to move out of California, or those who contemplate a relocation to the Golden State, may find that their new address adds complexity to their estate planning. It is often best to revise a will, trust or other estate planning document when moving across state lines. This helps to avoid potential problems and may possibly be advantageous to the estate or trust.
California residents may be interested to learn that only approximately half of senior citizens have created a will to distribute their assets. The number of adults with a comprehensive estate plan is even lower. Some people are not aware of the importance of creating a living will, health care directive or powers of attorney in addition to a basic will or trust document. Every bit as important as creating an estate plan is knowing when to modify it. Experts recommend reviewing estate plans every few years, as tax laws and life situations change, to ensure that it continues to meet ongoing needs.
Estate planning is a process that California residents may need to take seriously. If it is done properly, an estate plan might be able to reduce taxes heirs will have to pay on the estate, document how a person wants to handle end-of-life decisions, arrange for the care of minor children if both of their parents die, and avoid probate court.
Although considering the end of life is not uplifting for residents in California, creating a will and final testament is the best way to prevent headaches and complications for a person's heirs after their death. If such a document is not made, the state will carry out an estate plan for the deceased, irrespective of the needs of their heirs or personal wishes. Drafting a will with a professional usually runs between $500 and $2,000 but can be done for much less if an online service is used and the needs are straightforward.