As you grow older and your family dynamic changes, you inevitably begin thinking about a future in which you are no longer around. How will you organize your assets and pass them along to your heirs? How will you provide financial protection for your loved ones? This is where estate planning comes into play. Now truth be told, the planning should come into play as soon as you have something to protect early in life, but most will wait to get a plan into place a bit later in life (and that’s okay!).
But before you begin the process of creating a plan, it will benefit you immensely to learn how the entire process works. Our estate planning attorneys in San Diego can help explain everything in the simplest terms to help you feel much more comfortable getting started. Here is what you can expect:
Taking Inventory of Your Assets and Debts
This will require you to compile a comprehensive list of your assets and debts, which can include many different things. Listed below are some examples:
- Bank accounts and financial investments
- Private equity and stock holdings
- Real Properties, cars, and other expensive material assets.
- Bank loans
- Money owed from credit card purchases.
It’s very important to know what assets we’re planning around in the estate planning process so that we can ensure your plan is optimized for your family. Even in simple estate scenarios not involving estate tax planning, it’s still important to know what type of assets you have so that we can guide you on how to best set up those assets to pass to your family.
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Developing a Contingency Plan
In general, an estate plan allows you to determine what happens to your property and assets after you pass away. However, a contingency plan deals with situations where you become medically incapacitated and can no longer make important decisions independently. If you become disabled, a contingency plan will cover all your bases — financial support, healthcare expenses, and more. We always encourage our clients to fully enjoy everything they have worked so hard to gain in life, but it’s important to have a plan in place to protect you during any periods of incapacity and pass on whatever is left to your family in the best way possible.
Protecting Your Spouse, Children, and Dependents
If you were to pass away, an estate plan ensures that you can still provide long-term financial support for your family. You can also include provisions for your children so that assets will automatically transfer to them in a responsible and streamlined manner. You can even provide supplementary income for surviving family members with special needs and other disabilities, without the fear or risk of them losing any existing benefits.
Related post: 6 Ways Your Estate Plan Can Protect Your Children
Managing Your Assets
Estate planning essentially encompasses the strategy you implement to protect and manage your assets. If you have retirement funds or bank accounts that contain large sums of money in your name, you need to ensure that you can pass them along to your chosen heirs in the most tax advantaged and protected way possible. Estate plans even offer you different strategies in which you can transfer unique assets, such as family-owned businesses, real estate, stock holdings, and a lot more.
Achieving Your Personal Goals
When speaking with an estate planning attorney, tell them exactly how you want to manage and distribute your assets. You should have the ultimate say in how you want to pass along everything you own. An estate planning attorney will also go over all of your options, some of which include:
- Creating a living trust or other unique goals based trust instrument
- Determining your powers of attorney for financial and medical matters
- Determining your guardians for minor children and creating a plan for taking care of minors until they reach a mature age.
Related post: 6 Life Events That Could Change Your Estate Plan
Naming Your Fiduciaries
In preparing and developing the entire framework of your estate plan, you have the task of determining your fiduciaries. This includes your successor trustees, the executor of your estate, guardians for children; financial/medical agents, and more. These are big decisions for anyone to make, and we’re happy to talk through the different approaches and considerations in naming individuals to each role. Make sure that you inform your fiduciaries about their respective designations so that they know what to expect when your estate plan goes into effect.
Are you ready to begin managing your assets and preparing for the future? The legal experts here at Jenkins & Jenkins, Estate Planning Attorneys in San Diego can help you get started. Our top priority is to ensure that you can devise a plan that will accomplish all of your long-term financial goals. Take this opportunity to schedule an appointment with our attorneys today!
Testimonial from Tina, Satisfied Estate Planning Client
Attorney Michael Jenkins was a referral for us and after doing several interviews with others, we selected him for his responsiveness, his understanding of our needs, his ability to work with some very complex trusts and estate planning, his professionalism, and his compassion. We had provided our situation, scenarios and he came fully prepared with answers to our questions in the initial consultation -which was at no charge. He recognized our need for urgency and delivered as promised, making himself available to us whenever we needed to gather clarification and understanding. We initially were looking for someone who could speak in a different language that my parents could better understand, but we felt a true sense of care and trust after meeting him. He was very patient and we never felt rushed. I recommend him and firm highly based on the customer service we received, his expertise, and he was a true pleasure to work with.