Estate Planning Lawyers in La Mesa, CA
Many times, questions that are far too important are left unresolved. When you die without a properly written, signed, and notarized last will and testament, the costs of transferring everything you have worked for to your family can cost thousands of dollars and take a year or longer as it goes through a process called probate.
Why Estate Planning is Important for Everybody
As recently as a couple years ago, few people would have imagined the world we live in today. Who would have thought that a deadly pandemic would sweep through the US and the rest of the world, claiming the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans?
Well over a year later, we are still dealing with the effects of the Covid 19 outbreak, and it has been an unpleasant reminder that we never know what can happen in our increasingly uncertain world. What we do know is that it is more important than ever to be prepared in case the worst happens.
Estate planning is not just for the wealthy – it is for everyone. If you do not have an estate plan yet, Garmo & Garmo is here to help with that. We are ready to customize a plan that fully addresses your needs and accomplishes your goals.
To get started, call our La Mesa, CA office today at (619) 441-2500 to set up a consultation.
The Importance of Estate Planning: The Basics
We realize that this is an unpleasant thought but imagine if something were to happen to you tomorrow and you died without an estate plan. What would happen to all of your property? Perhaps more importantly, what would happen with your children?
The short answer is – if you die without an estate plan in California, the state ultimately decides what happens with your assets, property, and yes, minor children. This is done through a process called “probate”, and it can be expensive and time-consuming if your estate is left with no directions.
Maybe everything will work out just fine and all of your property will go where you want it to go, but that would take an extreme amount of luck if you do not have a plan.
Here are five reasons why estate planning is so important:
- Decide Who Receives Your Property
If someone dies without proper estate planning in CA, their assets and possessions are divided by a disinterested judge according to California intestate succession laws. This generally means that the property within the estate is distributed to the surviving spouse and biological children, but this can get very complicated if someone is divorced, remarried, has stepchildren, and has a surviving ex-spouse. With an estate plan in place, you decide how your property is divided rather than the courts.
- Protect Your Children
Do you have minor children? If so, then you will definitely want to estate planning, even if you don’t have significant assets. Within your will, you can nominate a guardian to receive custody of your minor children if something happens to you. Without such a document, a guardian will be appointed by – you guessed it, the court.
- Plan for Your Own Future Needs
Estate planning is not just about carrying out your final wishes after you die, it is also about preparing for future scenarios in which you may not be in a position to make important decisions on your own. With an estate plan, you can designate a trusted individual to serve as power of attorney for health care decisions as well as a financial power of attorney. This can be the same person, or you can nominate separate individuals for each function.
You can also specify which medical treatments you would like performed and which ones you do not want should you become incapacitated and unable to decide these things at the time.
- Avoid Starting World War III
Probate litigation is all too common these days, and these disputes usually happen because the decedent did not have his/her final affairs in order. Either there was no estate plan, or they used cookie-cutter templates that did not adequately specify their wishes. Although estate planning is not the most exciting subject for most people, it is well worth a small investment of your time to avoid major conflicts between heirs after you are gone.
- Implement Advanced Estate Planning Strategies
For those who have a substantial amount of assets, own businesses, real estate, and other valuable properties, there are various types of trusts and other estate planning tools that can be used to accomplish your goals and minimize tax liability for your heirs. To take full advantage of the strategies that are available to you, it is important to know what they are and how to effectively implement them. And this means working with attorneys who have an in-depth understanding of not only estate planning, but also business law, tax law, and other related areas.
End the Uncertainty and Start Your Estate Plan Today
Benjamin Franklin once said, “never put off till tomorrow what you can do today”. To get started on your estate plan in Southern California, call Garmo & Garmo today at (619) 441-2500 or send us an online message to set up a free consultation.
If you want to properly protect yourself and your family, it is important to have a trust – a legal instrument designed to make sure your family is protected and your hard-earned property goes to whomever you wish. At Garmo & Garmo, LLP, our attorneys take the time from the beginning to understand your situation, to create a customized plan for you and your family.
Proper Estate Planning allows you to plan for:
- Yourself and loved ones without giving up control;
- Your current and future concerns for family members;
- The possibility of your own disability;
- What you own to go to whom, when, and the way you want;
- Fully disclosed and controlled costs;
- Your dreams and goals for yourself, your family, and your assets.
- The type of health care you want to receive in the event you are unable to express those wishes later in life through an Advance Health Care Directive;
- Allowing someone else the power of attorney should you be unable to communicate your wishes.
If you do not properly designate in a trust who you want to inherit everything after your death, the State of California will make that decision for you. If you have not made written plans, a judge will decide who will raise your minor children. Without the proper documents, if you become incompetent or incapacitated the Court – not your family – will make decisions about your care. Furthermore, in the event of the need for long term care, a nursing home, or Medi-Cal assistance, your assets, including your home, may be consumed to pay for your care.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Do I have a written plan to take care of my family in the event I am unable to?
- Who will take care of my spouse when I die? My minor children or elderly parents?
- Have I identified and valued my assets?
- What happens to my property once I become disabled or die?
For more information regarding Estate Planning, please call us at 619-441-2500 for a free consultation today!