Estate Planning is about taking charge of your life NOW. It is about clearly indicating to yourself, your family, and your close friends what should be done for you and with your property if you lose your mental capacity or die.
Some clients have asked us, “Doesn’t the government take care of these matters if we don’t get around to doing it ourselves?”
It’s true, there are state and federal laws in effect that would deal with the uncertainties caused by a person not having planned his own estate. However, those laws often act as “sledge hammers” in cases where scalpels would have been more helpful. So, while California and federal laws can be used to “plan” your estate for you, you probably wouldn’t be happy with the results.
Therefore, it is critical that you work closely with your legal, tax, and financial advisors to establish your estate plan with documents that clearly indicate the following:
- Who is to assume control of your finances if you become mentally incapacitated;
- Who is to make medical decisions for you if you become unable to make such decisions for yourself; and
- Who is to receive whatever property remains in your estate after your death.