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Our days are structured around plans. We can now speak into our iPhone’s, tell Siri our plans, and have our calendar scheduled for us. Our plans include the meetings that fill up the work day, planning out the kid’s activities and play dates, and planning what to do in our free time. With the beautiful weather and summer fast approaching, many of us have summer vacation plans in place as well.
Benefitting from an Estate Plan
A different type of plan needs to be included in your life as well. You can protect your finances, your family, and their future with an estate plan. An estate plan (which often consists of a trust, a will, powers of attorney, health care directives, and a living will) is a plan you can have put in writing for someone else to carry out for you during a time of disability and after your death.
This plan provides the means for you to write who is to make financial decisions for your estate, who is to receive your estate, who is to make health care decisions for you, who is to care for your children, and even state who is to care for your pets. Furthermore, your plan provides those people with guidelines on how to serve in the roles you have designated, and guidelines on how to carry out your wishes.
What if I Don’t Have an Estate Plan?
If you do not put your plan in writing, the state will make it for you. If you die without a will, you die intestate, which means the state determines who receives your estate. If you aren’t able to care for your children, the court will appoint a guardian. If you aren’t able to care for yourself or your finances, the court will appoint a conservator. Furthermore, after death, your estate may be subject to probate, where it has to pay fees to go through court proceedings prior to being distributed to your beneficiaries.
Make a Plan!
While you are planning your summer, “plan” some time to discuss your estate plan with your family. Please consult a professional to find out more about the topics mentioned in this article, and continue to read our postings for more estate planning topics and tips.
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.