With the help of an experienced estate planning lawyer, people of all ages and levels of wealth should have an estate plan in place. Here are some things you should know about estate planning to help guide your efforts.

  • Whether you realize it or not, you already have an estate. It is comprised of everything that you own, including your home, car, valuables, personal possessions, and monetary assets. If you don’t manage these assets, then when you pass away or become incapacitated, the state of California will decide how to distribute your assets for you, which may or may not be in accordance with your wishes.

  • An estate plan gives your heirs the best possible way to pay the least amount of taxes, legal fees and other costs, allowing them to retain as much of the estate as possible.

  • A will is an important part of an estate plan, but it is only one small part of the estate planning process. Having only a will means there would still be a lengthy and unpredictable probate process.

  • Estate plans can be valuable to you and your heirs even before you pass away. They contain an effective set of directions that can be carried out if you also become disabled or incapacitated.

  • The best estate planning tool a person can use is a revocable living trust. It will help family members avoid probate and will eliminate interference by the court system into your personal affairs. It is relatively easy to change and is valid no matter what state you ultimately live in.

  • Trusts can clearly define who and how you want your assets to be disbursed. This can prevent spouses, creditors and others from tapping into your estate. You can also set up directives that delay the disbursement of assets until beneficiaries reach the age you want them to inherit the assets of your estate.

Dale Gribow, Attorney at Law proudly serves Palm Springs and surrounding California communities.