Estate Planning can be a vital tool for individuals of all ages that can provide the following benefits:
1. Reduce Administration Fees and Expenses – Dying without an appropriate estate plan can have a severe financial impact on an individuals’ estate. California Law provides a statutory fee structure for attorneys fees in probate. For example, estates valued at $500,000.00, allow for payment of $13,000.00 in attorneys fees. Estates valued at $1,000,000.00 allow for payment of $23,000.00 in attorneys fees. Estate planning can cut these fees and costs by thousands of dollars.
2. Distribute Assets More Quickly at Death – The average wait time for a court date in Sacramento, California is currently two months. For this reason, an individual petitioning the court to be appointed executor or personal representative will have to wait two months while mortgage payments and other bills remain outstanding. This could lead to the loss of estate assets if individuals do not act quickly to move a probate forward. Estate planning can alleviate this risk by allowing an agent to access funds more quickly and administer an estate without court involvement.
3. Designate a Guardian for Minor Children – Without designating a guardian for a minor child in the event of death or incapacity, a court is left to make the decision. This can place family members at odds as to who should be appointed guardian of a minor child. Estate planning can ensure that one’s wishes are carried out by the Court in the unfortunate event of the death of a minor’s parents.
4. Designate an Agent to Make Medical Decisions – Absent a designation in an Advance Health Care Directive, a court must appoint a conservator to take care of an incapacitated individual’s personal care and estate. This process can be complicated and expensive. Proper estate planning can designate an agent without the court’s involvement while reducing costs to the estate.
5. Privacy – Court involvement in one’s affairs often results in a loss of privacy. With some exceptions, court’s Websites are becoming more user friendly with regard to public records. A search of a court’s Website can disclose a decedent’s family members and addresses, property owned by the decedent, and information as to whom the decedent wishes to disinherit, among other sensitive information. Creating an estate plan can help keep an individual’s private life private.
For more information on how estate planning can benefit you, click here, or call our office at (916)436-5210 to schedule a complementary one-hour consultation.