Thank you for taking the time to find out about our connection to Fair Oaks, California. If you are looking for a licensed estate planning attorney in the Sacramento area, you have found a reliable local resource. With a population of nearly 31,000, Fair Oaks is considered part of the Sacramento–Arden-Arcade–Roseville Metropolitan Area. Surrounded by the American River and Rancho Cordova, Fair Oaks is known for its combination of both suburban and semi-rural neighborhoods.
Old Fair Oaks Village is the town center of Fair Oaks, located approximately a half-mile from the American River Parkway. Also in that part of town is the Veterans Memorial Amphitheatre where you can find the Fair Oaks Theater Festival, the Fair Oaks Fiesta and Car Show, and the annual Fair Oaks Chicken Festival every September. The Fair Oaks History Center is also located in the town center, which provides the rich history of the founding and development of this fine city. There you can find pictures and artifacts dating back to the early 1900s and a small collection of early Maidu Indian artifacts.
The purposes of estate planning
The purpose of estate planning is to prepare clients and their families for the future, including the possibility of incapacity and death. There are different estate planning tools you can use for your plan, depending on the goals you have for the future. An experienced and qualified Sacramento estate planning attorney can help you choose the right tools for your estate plan.
Planning for possible incapacity
Incapacity can be the result of a medical condition or an injury. The legal concept of incapacity refers to the ability to manage their own affairs and make their own decisions.
In addition to mental incapacity, your inabilities can also be physical in nature. Whatever makes it difficult or impossible for you to take care of your own affairs. Without an estate plan that addresses incapacity, the court may end up appointing a court-supervised conservator to take care of you.
Advance Healthcare Directives can be used for incapacity planning
An Advance Healthcare Directive is a legal document that allows you to delegate medical care and treatment-related decisions to someone else in the event you cannot make them yourself. These directives permit you to choose someone to manage your medical decisions. They commonly are created so that they take effect even in cases of temporary incapacity.
Using a financial power of attorney or trust as part of your incapacity plan
Along with medical decisions, incapacity may also require the need for assistance in handling financial matters. For this type of assistance, you will likely need, at a minimum, a Financial Power of Attorney which allows you to select someone you trust to manage your affairs. Ask your estate planning attorney about your options. In many cases, a revocable living trust is a superior choice.
Planning for your death
The second purpose of estate planning is to decide how you want your estate to be handled after your death. One of the estate planning tools that accomplish this is a Last Will and Testament. A Will is a set of written instructions regarding how you want your estate to be distributed upon your death. A Will can also nominate a guardian for your children in the event you pass away while they are still minors. One disadvantage of a will is that the property most often must go through probate before the assets in your estate can be distributed. Such proceedings are expensive, time consuming and cumbersome.
The basics of estate planning
Estate planning involves creating an advance plan naming those individuals you want to handle your affairs when you are no longer able to and to receive your property when you die. Proper estate planning should also be able to do the following:
- Include instructions for your care if you become disabled or incapacitated before your death,
- Select a guardian to provide care for your minor children, if any, if you cannot do so
- Provide for loved ones with special needs while preserving eligibility for vital government benefits
- Provide for loved ones who may need assistance managing money or who may need protection from creditors or divorcing spouses
- Include life insurance policies for your surviving family, disability income insurance if you become unable to work, and long-term care insurance to assist in financing your medical care in case of an extended illness or injury.
The time to start your estate planning is now
Many clients put off starting on an estate plan because they believe they are too young or they don’t have sufficient assets in their estate. But, in reality, no one can predict how long they will live, or whether they will suffer from an illness or accident that leaves them incapacitated. For that reason, estate planning should be a priority sooner rather than later. Once disaster strikes or the unexpected happens, it may be too late. The families of clients who don’t plan ahead are left to pick up the pieces, often without any idea how to start.
If you have questions regarding estate planning matters, please contact us at the Northern California Center for Estate Planning and Elder Law for a consultation. You can contact us either online or by calling us at (916) 437-3500. We are here to help!