Focusing on Your Estate Plan in 2020

Why should making an estate plan be a part of your New Year’s resolution?

As you kick off the New Year and step into a whole new decade, now is an ideal time to address the issue of estate planning. Creating an estate plan is critical to the protection of your hard-earned assets, your health, and your loved ones. With an estate plan, you can designate who will receive which assets, while further naming a guardian for your minor children and potentially reducing the tax implications to your estate after your death. You can also designate an individual to make critical health and financial decisions if you become unable. Anyone who does not yet have an estate plan should add this goal to their New Year’s resolutions. Our Orange County, California estate planning lawyers discuss four simple steps you can take to create an estate plan in 2020.

Write a Will

A will is perhaps the first and most basic step to creating an estate plan. In your will, you can name who you would like to inherit your property. You will first need to determine what property will be transferred through a will, which will usually include all of your property besides what transfers through a beneficiary designation. Carefully consider who you want to receive what assets and spell out your wishes within your will. You can also name a guardian for your minor children within your will.

Consider Making a Trust

You may want to consider making a trust in addition to your will. A trust allows for the seamless transfer of your assets to your named recipients without the need for probate. A trust can save your estate in taxes and prevent delays in getting funds to your heirs. It also allows for more flexibility in setting the terms of the transfer, such as limiting how much access to the funds each heir will receive.

Complete Your Healthcare Directives

A healthcare directive or living will allows you to write out your wishes for healthcare services if you find yourself unconscious or without decision-making ability. End of life wishes can be hard to contemplate, but by creating a living will you can ensure your wishes are honored while taking the stress of making these decisions away from your loved ones.

Make a Financial Power of Attorney

If you become incapacitated, you will need someone you trust to manage your assets. With a financial power of attorney, you can select an individual to manage your property and finances if you ever become unable to do so yourself. A simple financial power of attorney can save your family many struggles in caring for your affairs when needed. Contact an estate planning lawyer today to get started with making your ideal estate plan this New Year.

Brian Chew, the managing partner of OC Wills & Trust Attorneys, has extensive experience in the areas of estate planning, asset protection planning, business succession planning, long-term care planning, and veterans’ benefits. By devoting his practice to estate planning matters, he has founded a firm that strives to provide exceptional service to their clients by working closely with individuals and their families to create comprehensive and customized estate plans. For the past twenty five years, Brian has served thousands of clients in the matters of estate planning, wills and trusts. If you have any questions about this article, you can reach Brian Chew here.