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Why Estate Planning Is Important 

Law Office of Robert L. Firth Jan. 11, 2023

An estate plan is essential for protecting yourself, your family, and your assets. Regardless of your age or financial situation, having a comprehensive estate plan in place is crucial to ensure the security of your heirs and your estate. 

If you are considering creating an estate plan in California, the estate planning attorney at the Law Office of Robert L. Firth can help you navigate the complex laws surrounding estates. With an office in Cathedral City, California, we serve clients throughout the state, including Desert Hot Springs, Palm Desert, Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage, and the Coachella Valley.  

Why Estate Planning Is Important  

Taking the time to create an effective estate plan is vital for anyone with any amount of assets or loved ones who may need protection after their death. Reasons why estate planning is important include:  

  1. Protect your family and heirs. The primary purpose of creating an estate plan is to ensure that your family will be taken care of when you are gone. Without an estate plan, the state will handle all decisions related to managing and distributing any assets left behind. By creating a will or trust, you can make sure that the people you love receive what they need without delay or complications.   

  1. Protect your assets. Having an estate plan in place also helps protect your assets by setting up instructions on how they should be distributed after you’re gone. This prevents any disagreements among family members over who gets what or how much they get. Estate planning takes into consideration any debts or taxes that may be due when someone passes away, thus preserving more of the money for heirs and beneficiaries.  

  1. Protect yourself. When creating an estate plan, you can appoint someone you trust to make decisions for you in case something happens and you are unable to do so yourself. This includes appointing someone to manage any businesses or investments during times of incapacity as well as making medical decisions if needed. You can also appoint guardians for minor children in case both parents pass away before their children become adults.  

Having an estate plan provides peace of mind knowing that all contingencies have been thought through and proper preparations have been made ahead of time so that loved ones won’t have anything to worry about once you are gone. An experienced attorney can help guide individuals through the process and ensure everything is done properly so that all wishes are honored after death. 

What Happens When Someone Dies Without an Estate Plan?  

When someone dies without an estate plan in California, their assets will be distributed according to the state’s intestate succession laws. These laws determine which family members are eligible to inherit the decedent’s property and in what proportion.  

Generally, if the decedent was married at the time of death, their surviving spouse will get all of the decedent’s assets. If the decedent was not married, their assets would be divided among their children, parents, and siblings in a specific order determined by state law.  

This means that if the decedent had any specific wishes for how they wanted their estate to be distributed, those wishes might not be honored without an estate plan in place. Additionally, without an estate plan, it may be more difficult for family members to gain access to the deceased’s assets due to extra paperwork and court proceedings that could have been avoided with an estate plan. 

Who Should Have an Estate Plan?  

Any individual over the age of 18 should consider creating an estate plan. This includes those who:  

  • Are single or married;  

  • Have children or do not have children;  

  • Own property or do not own property; and  

  • Have significant wealth or limited wealth.  

While many people assume that only those with significant wealth need to create an estate plan, this isn’t necessarily true—everyone has something that needs to be protected upon death or incapacitation. Even if you don’t think you have much in terms of assets or property that needs protecting, you should still consider creating a basic will as soon as possible so that your wishes are documented when needed most.   

Prepare for Your Future   

Creating an estate plan is one of the most important steps a person can take towards protecting their assets and providing for loved ones. Contact the estate planning attorney at the Law Office of Robert L. Firth to talk about the importance of having an estate plan in your specific case. Reach out to our office in Cathedral City, California, for reliable guidance and assistance.