If there is one lesson everyone should take away about estate planning it is this: you need to do more than remain silent. Estate planning is, at its core, making choices and setting them down on paper. When you don’t make any choices or, even worse, make the choice and assume that your wishes will be followed, you’re going to have a bad time. Here are three reasons why remaining silent is not a good option when making a plan.
Reason 1. California has already chosen who will inherit your property.
If you make no estate planning choices of any kind, the State of California will divide your property according to a method it has already chosen. California’s laws of intestate succession choose who gets to inherit your property. These laws will apply unless you develop your own estate plan and put your choices in a legally recognized form.
Reason 2. Someone else will get to choose your medical and financial decisions.
Short of dying, falling ill or becoming injured to the extent that you are no longer able to make decisions is also one of the main reasons you need an estate plan. If you don’t create powers of attorney, advance medical directives, or other estate planning devices, someone else will need to make your decisions for you should you become incapacitated. In many situations, a California court will have to name a conservator to do this. Who the courts selects is entirely out of your hands if you do not already have an estate plan.
Good and thorough estate planning provides you with control over decisions about your future and that brings peace of mind. Work with an experienced and qualified estate planning attorney so that your goals and wishes are realized, not the arbitrary decisions of the law.