Why You Need an Estate Plan

In this day and age, many people believe that they do not need to make a will or an estate plan for a variety of reasons.  Unfortunately, this could not be further from the truth.  Everyone should have a will that determines what should happen to their estate in the event that they pass away; otherwise the consequences could be dire and the more people you have depending on you, the more problematic your lack of estate planning documents can be.  An experienced probate attorney can help you create a comprehensive estate plan that accounts for all your assets and debts and beneficiaries.

Why Should I Make A Will?

 There are so many reasons why everyone should have a comprehensive estate plan.  In this blog post, we will discuss a few of the most important reasons that you should have an estate plan.

  1. You get to choose what happens to your things.  The power of choice is so important when it comes to your final wishes.  If you fail to leave a will, you will die intestate and the state of California will determine how your assets are distributed.  That special collector’s item you wanted to leave to your favorite niece probably will not get to her if you do not specify it in your will.  
  2. You can protect your privacy.  There are tools you can use to ensure that your assets are distributed privately; usually, a last will and testament is a public record.  If you want to pass certain assets more privately, you will have to use alternative estate planning tools, like a trust to do so off the public record.
  3. You can protect the value of your gifts to beneficiaries by avoiding probate.  Probate is a legal process wherein a deceased person’s assets are fully accounted for, taxed, used to pay creditors, and transferred to heirs and beneficiaries. Probate is also more expensive, as it will likely cost more due to legal fees and various asset management costs while the probate process ensues.
  4. Even if a person has a very small estate, it is still important to make a valid will:
  •  to name guardians of minor children, and
  •  to name your personal representative to handle your affairs, and to pursue your legal matter in the event of death by accident.

Although we have listed some benefits of having an estate plan here, there are truly so many more.  You and your family deserve a carefully planned estate that does not include unwanted consequences like increased costs or burdensome taxes.  If you want to talk to a local, Sonoma County attorney about how to put together the best estate plan for your needs, contact or call Charles D. Stark today at 707-527-9900 for immediate assistance.

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