In daily life, many people in California and elsewhere are organized, good at planning and prompt in attending to necessary details in their work and personal lives. Others are staunch procrastinators, seemingly stuck in ever-revolving to-do lists that never actually get done. With regard to estate planning, some financial advisers say it is far better in this case to be among the former rather than latter.
Putting off until tomorrow what can be done today may prove disastrous in a situation where unexpected death occurs if what has been put off is an estate plan. Many have had good intentions to some day develop plans only to die with no wills in place, leaving families vulnerable to lengthy probate processes and possible discord among potential heirs. One survey estimated that nearly 65 percent of U.S. citizens of adult ages do not have documented wills.
Within that group, many say they have every intention of crafting wills when they get around to the task. Others believe they have no need for such things. However, even if an estate is small, having no formal instructions in place regarding how one’s assets should be distributed after death means those who ultimately inherit them may not be the persons one would have chosen.
Those in California who have already completed their wills are advised to review their plans every few years. It is crucial to keep such documents updated, especially in situations where more children have been born or remarriages have taken place. In addition to a basic will, discussing issues pertaining to trusts, executors and trustees is typically a good idea for those who wish to be as prepared as possible to provide for their loved ones’ futures. An estate planning attorney can address each of these matters and assist in crafting a thorough plan.
Source: cnbc.com, “Don’t drop the ball when planning your estate“, Trey Smith, Sept. 13, 2016