Things to Consider When Hiring an Estate Planning Attorney

Three Things to Consider When Hiring Estate Planning Services in San Diego

Many believe that estate planning services in San Diego are only for the wealthy; therefore, they assume that they do not need an estate plan. An estate plan is something that is essential for everyone and every estate – regardless of how valuable one’s assets may be. An estate plan provides guidance to loved ones, reduces confusion, eliminates costs, and ensures that family members will not deal with unnecessary stress while coping with the loss of a loved one.

Estate planning is a difficult topic for most families to deal with, but it is very necessary. Without the preparation and accurate documentation of assets, these assets could sit in a court’s hands for years – leaving beneficiaries without them for an unspecified amount of time.

Even if one cannot afford an estate planning attorney, they should at a minimum consider creating a will.

Establishing a Will or Setting up a Trust

The first thing to consider when engaging estate planning services in San Diego is a will or trust. Wills are simple to create, and they dictate which assets will go where – after they have gone through the process of probate court.

Probate is a legal process that is required any time someone dies, even with an estate plan. The probate process will verify that the will belongs to the deceased, identify and inventory all assets listed in the estate plan, pay debts and taxes, and ensure that beneficiaries receive their inheritances from the estate.

Probate requires a lot of technical work, paperwork, and court appointments. The court and legal fees add up quickly, which is why most will use a trust. A trust will avoid probate court and save their loved ones the unnecessary hassles associated with it.

The Durable Power of Attorney

Another consideration is the durable power of attorney. This document gives someone financial and legal decision-making power for a person if they become unable to do make the decisions themselves. For example, the individual is too ill or unconscious and cannot make decisions. The durable power of attorney allows the appointed individual to make decisions on their behalf.

Not all power of attorney documents are the same; therefore, these should be drafted with caution and preferably with the assistance of an estate planning attorney to ensure that they are accurate and complete.

Updated Beneficiary Designations

Beneficiary designations are on life insurance policies, bank accounts, and retirement accounts. These must be kept up to date to ensure that the right party receives an inheritance. An estate planning attorney can help create a beneficiary designation with updated information. Also, these forms should be checked regularly to verify that the designations are still accurate.

For example, a person may list their parents while they are single. However, after they get married, they should change their designation (if they wish to do so) to their new spouse so that their spouse would receive the benefits upon their death.


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