As an Encino will and trust lawyer, I’ve actually spoken to many elderly people who believe that, for one reason or another, it’s just too late to start estate planning or asset protection planning. Maybe they think they will never make it through look back periods for benefits in some states, or believe they don’t need to make a Revocable Living Trust because they don’t have a lot of assets. While it’s true that people can reach a stage when estate planning and asset protection planning may not do them a whole lot of good, that point is usually much farther off than people think. If you’re questioning whether or not it’s too late to begin estate planning, I ask you to consider how these items and how they can help you at any point in your life.
Last Will and Testament
Most people in California immediately think of the Last Will and Testament when the topic of estate planning is brought up, because it’s the most well-known estate planning document. A Last Will and Testament will direct where your assets go when you pass away, and if you have any legal dependents such as grandchildren, it can allow you to name a conservator to take over when you’re gone. Even if you don’t own a lot of assets or have any dependents, a Last Will and Testament can go a long way in giving you peace of mind as you age.
A Power of Attorney and Healthcare Directive, known collectively as designation documents, are critical pieces of any estate plan. These estate planning tools will document your wishes for both your finances and your healthcare if you ever get to the point where you cannot make those choices for yourself. Designation documents are especially helpful as you get older because they allow you to appoint someone, such as an adult child or other family member, to help take care of your finances and help you with any healthcare decisions that may come up.
Revocable Living Trust
There’s a big misunderstanding that Revocable Living Trusts are only for the very wealthy who wish to leave trust funds to their beneficiaries. In reality, establishing a Revocable Living Trust is a good way to ensure your private matters are not made public, both before and after you die, and to make sure your beneficiaries receive the legacy you intend for them. While you may think you don’t have enough assets to fund a Revocable Living Trust, it’s important to consider what assets you own, such as a house, that are countable in your probate estate. It’s a good idea to speak with an Encino will and trust lawyer to find out if a Revocable Living Trust would be helpful in your estate planning situation.
If you’d like to begin estate planning or asset protection planning, or if you have an existing estate plan and would like to have it reviewed, please contact us at (818) 905-6088 to set up a no charge consultation.