Estate planning is a subject many people would rather not discuss because it involves talking about legal affairs that happen after passing away. It’s natural to avoid thinking about dying, but there is a lot more involved in estate planning than just disposing of assets after death. Estate planning is a process that considers retirement, finances, medical emergencies, asset protection, taxes, business continuity, and worst-case scenarios. Reliable San Diego financial consultant Jan Gleisner has suggested five estate planning tips residents of California should consider.
1. Start Planning Early
There is no better time than the present to get started on estate planning. Most people believe they should wait until they are a little older, but this ignores the fact that getting an early start and touching on topics related to finance and retirement is an excellent life strategy. The last thing you should do is to rush your estate planning when a doctor gives you an alarming diagnosis or after you realize many decades have slipped by.
2. Think of the Worst-Case Scenario
Set aside thoughts about passing away and start focusing on what could happen if you become medically incapacitated because of a sudden illness or accident. In this situation, you’ll need an advance healthcare directive to designate who will control your finances and other important decisions when you’re unable to do so. You may also want to think about a durable power of attorney should you find yourself overseas.
3. Develop a Strategy to Avoid Probate
Depending on your life situation and family relations, you may not want to have your will entered in probate court, which happens to be a public proceeding. Contested wills that feature bickering relatives can embarrass the good name of your family. A trust kept out of probate court may be a better method to handle your estate since it will provide privacy and prevent dirty laundry from being aired in public.
4. Think About Asset Protection
Estate planning can also be used to protect your assets and keep them in the family. It’s not unusual for overzealous creditors and frivolous third parties to come out of the woodwork with the intention of clawing at estates, but this can be avoided with a trust structured to provide asset protection. In some cases, the estate tax liability can also be minimized.
5. Avoid Intestacy
If you fail to do any kind of estate planning, meaning you do not even leave a will, everything you leave behind will be distributed according to California intestacy laws. Not leaving a will could also mean a spouse whom you would not want to handle your estate may end up getting the lion’s share after creditors and tax collectors stake their respective claims. Once again, a trust may be a better estate planning instrument in this regard.
If you need to devise your estate plan, get in touch with Jan Gleisner, one of the top financial advisors San Diego has to offer. To set up a legal consultation with Jan Gleisner, call 858-337-2385 today.