The death of a loved one is always a huge blow to families. But, when that death is the result of an unexpected accident, the loss should also remind us of the need to have an estate plan in place. The time to begin your estate planning is now.
Freak accident at Yosemite National Park
Destiny Borges was a young woman who was working for a retail company that contracted with Aramark Yosemite Hospitality. While working in an area of the park called Half Dome Village, Destiny was unexpectedly hit and killed by a falling tree.
Although an investigation is being conducted into the fatal accident, a Yosemite spokesperson, Scott Gediman, explained that Destiny’s tragic death was a result of the heavy snow and high winds plaguing the area at the time. Apparently, the tree that fell on her was otherwise healthy, but due to the severe weather conditions at the time, the tree unexpectedly fell on Destiny, killing her.
Sacramento estate planning attorney explains the need for estate planning
The primary goal of any estate plan is to prepare individuals and their families for the possibility of both incapacity and death. There are so many different estate planning tools you can use for your plan, depending on the goals you have for the future. A Sacramento estate planning attorney can help you choose the right tools for your estate plan.
How to create an estate plan to deal with your death
The most common reason most people have for creating an estate plan is to decide how you want your estate to be handled after your death. One of the primary estate planning tools that accomplishes this is the 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 must go through probate before the assets in your estate can be distributed. For this reason, many estate planning professionals recommend planning with a revocable living trust for those with more than minimal assets.
The basics of estate planning
Estate planning involves simply creating an advance plan naming those individuals you want 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 and manager for the inheritance of minor children,
- Provide for loved ones with special needs while preserving eligibility for government benefits
- Provide for loved ones who may need assistance managing money or who may need protection from creditors
- 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.
Start creating your estate plan now
Most 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.
Estate planning is not as expensive as you may think
If the prospect of proper estate planning seems too expensive or overwhelming, you can always begin with a simple initial plan and add to it as appropriate. This is especially true for single individuals or young families. A smaller family structure may only require a will, term life insurance, and powers of attorney for assets and health care decisions. As your needs and the needs of your family change, you can always develop your plan as necessary. An experienced and qualified estate planning attorney will be more than capable of providing the necessary guidance and peace of mind you will need to guarantee you and your family will be provided for in the future.
Download our FREE estate planning checklist today! If you have questions regarding wills, trusts, or any other estate planning issues, contact the Northern California Center for Estate Planning and Elder Law for a consultation, either online or by calling us at (916) 437-3500.