Most likely, when people are having a fun time at a party or other gathering, estate planning does not come up as a topic of conversation. Many California residents may think of this topic as morbid, and as a result, they put off talking about end-of-life planning. Of course, if they put off the actual planning as well, they could end up putting themselves and their loved ones in difficult positions.
If you have not yet started your estate plan, you may have one reason or another for not doing so. You may think that you do not need a plan because you do not have many assets, or you may think that you have years left to think about what you should include in your plan. However, it may be more realistic to understand that a serious incident could happen at any time that could leave your family in need of instruction for handling your affairs.
Getting a start
When it comes to starting on your plan, you do not have to feel ready to jump in with the major aspects of estate planning. Instead, you can start with relatively small details, like identifying the goal or goals of your plan. Brainstorming about your goals does not have to mean that you create formal documents, but when you do have your goals in mind, it is wise to implement a plan through legally binding documents that would help you reach those goals.
If you do not have much information on estate planning, you may not even know what types of goals these plans could help achieve. Some examples of common estate planning goals include the following:
- Reducing or avoiding estate taxes
- Preparing for the care of your minor children in the event of your death
- Controlling what happens to your assets after your death
- Planning for charitable giving
- Protecting wealth and assets
- Ensuring that certain inheritances are for specific purposes
- Preparing for the care of your pets in the event of death or incapacitation
- Avoiding probate
These examples represent only a few goals that estate plans could help you achieve. The exact goals of your plan may depend on your personal desires and factors involving your family and the estate itself.
Once you have your goal or goals in mind, you may feel ready to take more steps in the estate planning process. Understandably, you may still feel uncertain about how to create your plan, and fortunately, you can seek help throughout the process. A knowledgeable attorney can answer your planning questions and help ensure that you create your documents properly.