- CVTV VIDEOS
- Business News
The estate plans of the rich and famous regularly make the news. The battles surrounding Michael Jackson’s estate are no secret, and Whitney Houston’s estate plan (or lack thereof) has received criticism this past year. The newsworthiness of these celebrities seems to indicate that only the wealthy need an estate plan. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Documents You Need Regardless of Your Wealth
1: Will: A will allows you to designate the disposition of your assets, name the executor of your estate, and appoint guardians for your children.
2: Durable Power of Attorney: A durable power of attorney for finances allows you to name an agent to act on your behalf if you are incapacitated and unable to make your own financial decisions or pay your own bills.
3: Advance Health Care Directive: In your advance health care directive you name an agent to make medical decisions for you, sign consents and releases, and give direction to your physician and others on your behalf when you are unable to do so yourself.
4: Living Will: A living will gives direction regarding continuation of life support and end of life decisions. It can help your family avoid disputes over your care.
By having these basic documents in place, you can have peace of mind that the right financial and medical decisions will be made for you. These documents are foundational to any estate plan. Your wealth and family circumstances are a measuring factor to determine whether additional planning, such as a living trust, is also recommended for you.
Christine Ellingsen is a Northern California native now practicing law as an estate planning attorney in Carmel Valley San Diego at the Barger Law Group, APC. She spent a year in New York working in the business sector before moving to Southern California to attend law school at the University of San Diego. She is happy to have started her law career in San Diego and to now call Encinitas home, where she keeps busy between exploring Coastal North County and training her new puppy.