Irvine Estate Planning Lawyer

Your future isn’t something to leave to chance. Having an estate plan to account for any situation will provide you with the peace of mind you deserve in life. 

At OC Wills and Trusts, our Orange County, CA, estate planning attorneys can help you build that plan. Contact us to learn more, or schedule your free consultation today.

Importance of Estate Planning

Whether you’ve just graduated college or are nearing retirement age, unexpected events can strike at any time. Estate planning may feel overwhelming or like something that can wait, but having a plan in place will reduce stress, protect your assets, and help your loved ones even in unforeseen situations. 

When estate planning with the attorneys at OC Wills and Trusts, we will help you navigate each decision with precision and care. 

Advance Healthcare Directives

No one wants to imagine falling ill or becoming incapacitated, but should anything happen to your health, having the right legal documents will make it far easier for you and your loved ones to keep moving forward. 

Advance healthcare directives are legal documents that communicate your wishes regarding medical treatment. If you are terminally ill or seriously injured and unable to make decisions on your own, they create a roadmap for doctors and caregivers to follow. Here are the three main types of advance healthcare directives:

  • Medical Proxy: Assigns a trusted person to make healthcare decisions on your behalf (also called Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare)
  • Living Will: Outlines your desired treatments regarding specific situations like life support, resuscitation, or organ donation
  • HIPAA Authorization: Allows medical providers to share details of your condition with specific parties such as your family or agent

These three documents work together to build a clear picture of how you want your healthcare handled. Not only will they give you peace of mind knowing that you will receive the desired treatment, but they will also take pressure off your loved ones when caring for you during emergencies. 

Do I need a medical proxy if I am married?

Contrary to popular belief, your partner may not have the legal right to make decisions regarding your healthcare — even if you are married. 

Unless you legally appoint your spouse as the Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare and authorize them to have access to your medical records, a probate judge may select another person to take on that role. 

Retirement and Care Planning

Most people set up a 401(k) and start financially planning for their retirement when they begin their careers. However, few people consider how they want to be cared for later in life when they may need medical monitoring or help with daily tasks. 

While family may be able to help with your long-term care, it’s also helpful to have a plan. Some aspects of lifetime care planning to consider include:

  • The type of care setting, such as nursing homes or assisted living facilities
  • How you plan to afford or contribute to long-term care
  • When you want the responsibility to transfer from your family to professionals

Detailing this information will allow you to work toward the future you want and help your loved ones make what could otherwise be very challenging decisions. 

Legacy Planning

A will is probably the most well-known document when it comes to real estate planning. This document goes into effect after your death and provides instructions regarding funeral arrangements, asset distribution, and executors. 

Mapping out how you want your belongings handled after your death is a crucial step. It’s also helpful to know that you have multiple choices when it comes to legacy planning. 

While everyone should have a will, this document is subject to a potentially lengthy court process called probate. During probate, a judge will monitor the distribution of your belongings, which can take a lot of time and will make all of your assets public knowledge. 

If you want to protect your family’s privacy and skip the court process, you can pair a will with a trust. Trusts can make for a seamless transfer of your property under your instructions and the guidance of a trustee. 

Legacy planning looks different for everyone, and it can be complicated to navigate on your own. An estate planning attorney can provide you with more information about how wills and trusts can work together so you can make the best choices for your assets and family.

Estate Plans That Grow With You

At OC Wills and Trusts, we understand how overwhelming it can be to start an estate plan. Our team strives to help you build a meticulous plan that not only suits your current needs but also accounts for the changes and growth you’ll experience throughout your life. 

Our estate planning lawyers will work with you through the years to make sure your wishes are legally documented and ready to be implemented at any time. If you’re ready to get peace of mind for your future, call us today to schedule your free consultation in Orange County, CA.