What Estate Planning Documents Should Every Person Have?

Estate Planning and its benefits during California estate probate is not only for wealthy people. In Walnut Creek and Contra Costa County, California the four estate planning documents everyone needs in their estate plan to save time, money and hard feelings among family regarding your estate particularly during estate probate are:


You may think you do not need a will, however, a will is the foundation of prudent estate planning. Having our Walnut Creek offices prepare a will is the best way to be sure that your wishes are fulfilled during your California estate probate. This will avoid your family going to court for the Judge to decide the estate probate procedures of your estate. This is especially important where there are minor children who need legal guardians assigned and is helpful where there are many adult children who are heirs of your estate.

The will names an executor who manages the affairs of your estate and pays the bills. Many people unfortunately do not tell their family what is in their will. It is a good idea as part of your estate planning to ask the person you name as executor if they are willing to serve and even tell other family members who the executor of your estate will be.

Many people are tempted to create critical estate planning documents such as a will by using cheap online services. This can cause catastrophic problems for your family during estate probate since small details can end up invalidating a will so that what you want does not happen during estate probate proceedings.

Durable Power of Attorney for Finance

A power of attorney for finance gives someone else the power to act as your agent and make legal and financial decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so yourself.

This is a very important legal document and needs to be given serious consideration since this person can be in a long term continuing role up to the time your estate is turned over to your executor and your estate probate is conducted. Remember this person will be managing your estate’s finances. Can this person do this, do they understand the possible long term nature of this financial assignment and do they have the skills necessary to perform these important financial tasks? Their execution of financial matters on your behalf can have substantial impact on the assets of your estate.

Medical Power of Attorney

This is often known as a health care proxy and enables any adult you choose to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to make them for yourself. It is best to pick a person you think is going to stay calm in a crisis and can make medical decisions without being overcome by grief or emotion during times of literal life and death choices.

A living will

A living will is also known as an advanced health-care directive. It states in writing your wishes for the end of life care. This includes decisions like if you want to be resuscitated if your breathing or heartbeat stops, or if you want to be kept alive through artificial respiration or feeding.

It is best to sit down with your loved ones and have a conversation about your wishes. It is not always easy but will help later during a difficult time.

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