It’s a common misconception that only the rich need estate planning. In reality, everyone, regardless of how much your assets amount to, needs estate planning. Estate does not only refer to your property, but rather, it refers to everything you own, which is why you need to take the time to plan for what happens to it after you pass.
What Is Estate Planning?
Estate planning is the term used for the process of assigning who will receive your assets and handle all the responsibilities you leave behind in the event of your death or incapacitation. One reason why estate planning is so important is to ensure your beneficiaries receive your assets in such a way that they get to pay minimal estate tax, gift tax, income tax, and any other taxes.
Why Estate Planning Is Important
Estate planning is crucial if you want to provide your family with financial security. It’s a way to take care of them even if you are no longer around.
There are many aspects and details to take note of when planning your estate. Without going through the proper process, it can be difficult for your beneficiaries to receive your estate, and there may be a possibility that your property and assets will be distributed in a way that you did not intend for.
We know it may seem overwhelming to think about estate planning right now. Here are things you need to take note of according to a Los Angeles estate lawyer.
How To Get Started With Estate Planning
1. Make An Inventory
Regardless of how many things you own or how much you think it costs, you need to take note of them so you can pass them on smoothly to your loved ones. Take the time to go through everything you own, and you may be surprised by how many tangible and intangible assets are under your name.
Some examples of tangible assets are:
- Homes, land, condominium units, or any other real estate
- Vehicles including cars, motorcycles, boats, trucks, RVs
- Collectibles like coins, paintings, sculptures, antiques, trading cards, stamps
- Any other personal possessions you may have
Intangible assets, on the other hand, include:
- Checking and savings accounts
- Certificates of Deposit
- Stocks, bonds, and mutual funds
- Life insurance policies
- Retirement plans like the workplace 401(k) plan and any other retirement fund
- Business ownership
Once you’ve taken stock of everything you own, both tangible and intangible, you need to estimate their value. You can base their values on things like recent appraisal on your home, previous bank statements, current prices on online markets, etc. Having an estimate on your total assets helps you better distribute your assets to your loved ones.
2. Take Note Of Your Family’s Needs
Once you have a better grasp on your estate’s value, think about how you can use this to protect your assets and your loved one’s after your death.
- Will your life insurance be enough to cover your family’s expenses?
- Have you named a guardian for your child/ren?
- Did you document how you want your child to be raised?
3. Hire An Estate Planning Lawyer
Estate planning can be both physically and emotionally taxing, so you’ll want to have someone to help you along the way. An estate planning lawyer in Los Angeles, CA can be the objective eye you need to help you get your affairs in order. They can help you understand any complicated terminologies or understand complex paperwork you need to file. An estate planning attorney will also help you determine if you’re adhering to the right laws in Los Angeles, CA.
If you have a particularly large or complex estate, such as planning that requires special childcare needs, problems with any businesses you may own, or nonfamilial heirs, a Los Angeles estate lawyer can help you navigate through the complicated process.
If you’re looking for an estate planning attorney in Los Angeles, CA with an impeccable track record, consider reaching out to The Law Offices of R. Grace Rodriguez. We are a local probate and estate firm that is happy to work with you to ensure that you and your loved ones are adequately prepared for whatever may come. Contact 818-734-7223 or 805-364-0884 to learn more.