Estate planning is essential for everyone, regardless of how big or small the estate may be. While it can be uncomfortable for some people to consider end-of-life planning, taking the time to meet with a Brea estate planning lawyer and developing a comprehensive estate could save your family a significant amount of time and money when it comes to handling the aftermath of your death. Even if you are relatively young and in good health, it is never too early to begin estate planning.

The Law Office of Christopher P. Walker provides comprehensive estate planning services for our clients throughout the Brea area of California. We understand that estate planning can be an uncomfortable topic for some of our clients, and we will do everything we can to help you feel more at ease about developing your end-of-life plans. In addition, a properly constructed estate plan can be invaluable for your loved ones, allowing them to avoid a complex and costly probate process and ensuring your assets and property are distributed according to your wishes.

What Do Estate Planning Lawyers Do?

You may wonder why you would need to hire an attorney to develop your estate plan. While the process may seem simple enough at first, the reality is that it is a complex and multifaceted task, and it is very easy for an inexperienced individual to make critical errors in creating their estate plans when they do not have reliable legal counsel on their side.

An estate planning lawyer can conduct a comprehensive review of your finances and help you determine the best possible configuration for your estate plan. In addition, they can coordinate assistance from relevant experts if necessary, help you make more informed decisions about your estate planning options, and ultimately guide you toward creating the most comprehensive and legally enforceable estate plan possible under California law.

Why Should I Hire an Estate Planning Attorney?

You can find many free and affordable tools to create your own estate plan, but it’s vital to understand the value that an experienced Brea estate planning lawyer can offer as you develop your will, trust, and other elements of your estate plan.

Navigating your options for estate planning can easily become overwhelming when you do not have reliable legal counsel on your side. While you can draft the framework of your estate plan on your own and write up your own last will and testament for your family, you need the guidance of an experienced Brea estate planning attorney if you want to ensure your estate plan is legally enforceable and covers all issues that pertain to your unique case.

How Much Will an Estate Planning Lawyer Cost?

If you are concerned about the cost of legal fees when hiring a Brea estate planning attorney, make sure you fully understand the attorney’s billing policy before agreeing to their services. Many attorneys bill their time by the hour, broken into 10- or 15-minute increments. Therefore, the longer they spend working on your case, the more your legal fees cost. Other attorneys who specialize in estate planning charge flat rates for developing a client’s estate plan. For example, if you need help writing a legally enforceable will, this will likely be cheaper than securing legal assistance for trust creation, power of attorney designations, and other elements of a more comprehensive estate plan.

Benefits of Professional Estate Planning

Consider your choice to hire an experienced Brea estate planning lawyer as an investment into you and your family’s future. A good estate planning attorney will take time to get to know you and help you determine the best type of estate planning configuration for your unique situation. They will walk you through your available options so you can make an informed decision about the elements of your estate plan. Additionally, the right Brea estate planning attorney will ensure your estate plan includes all the necessary components required for ensuring your family can avoid as much of the probate process as possible. A comprehensive estate plan should include:

  • A last will and testament. This document outlines your final wishes and words to your family. It will also contain your instructions for distributing your assets and property. For example, if you want a particular family heirloom to go to a specific relative, you will include this wish in your will.
  • Power of attorney designation. Power of attorney allows someone else to make legal decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated, essentially empowering them with the right to sign in your name on legally binding documents.
  • Advanced medical care directive. Most people have specific healthcare preferences regarding palliative care and life support in an emergency. If you have particular preferences about hospice care, life support, or specific medical treatments, your advanced medical care directive provides instructions for your healthcare team to follow if you cannot convey your preferences directly.
  • A trust. Trusts are valuable documents that allow your property to remain in the care of a trustee that you choose. Once you die, the trustee will distribute your assets according to the instructions in your will. This is one of the best ways for avoiding probate, as it prevents the trust creator’s probate from qualifying as intestate and subject to probate proceedings.

While it is technically possible to create these elements of an estate plan on your own, it is much better to have an experienced Brea estate planning lawyer assist you in developing your estate plan. A good attorney will help you carefully review your finances and assist you in choosing the best type of estate plan components to suit your needs and preferences. Whether you are concerned about helping your family avoid expensive estate taxes or simply want to eliminate uncertainty concerning inheritance after your death, your attorney is the best resource for achieving these goals.

The Law Office of Christopher P. Walker is ready to assist you with your estate plan. We have years of experience helping clients in Brea, CA, and surrounding areas with their estate plans, and we are prepared to put this experience to work for you. If you would like to discuss your estate planning options with a trustworthy and compassionate Brea estate planning lawyer, contact the Law Office of Christopher P. Walker today and schedule a consultation with our team.

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