Bakersfield Estate Planning Attorney

Estate planning is for everyone, regardless of your age or financial status. An estate plan will include a collection of documents that details what happens to you, your assets, and any minor children should you die or become incapacitated. Without an estate plan in place, the distribution of your assets would be determined by the state in a way that you might not have wanted. To protect you, your family, and your property, it’s imperative to create a solid estate plan with the aid of a professional Bakersfield estate planning attorney.

A proper estate plan will generally consist of the following components.

Living Trust

There are two types of living trusts: revocable and irrevocable. A revocable trust is usually the right choice for most people because it can be modified at any point during their lifetime, whereas an irrevocable trust can’t be changed once it’s signed. It’s crucial to note that a trust is only valid if you fund it before you die. This involves transferring assets from your individual name to the name of the trust. You can fund it with:

  • Real estate property
  • Checking and savings accounts
  • Investments and business interests
  • Other financial assets

There are some assets you may not want transferred into the trust, including life insurance, IRAs and other qualified retirement accounts. Your lawyer will be able to advise you on how to fund the trust in a way that would most benefit you and your family.

If you name yourself as the trustee, you will manage the trust until you die or if you become mentally incompetent. At that point, whoever you designate as the successor trustee will have control over the trust.

Pour-Over Will for Assets and Guardianship

A pour-over will is often used in conjunction with a trust to account for any remaining assets outside the trust. Upon your death, these assets will automatically transfer to the trust so that they can be distributed to your beneficiaries. A pour- over will is also used to name a guardian for minor children should both you and your spouse die before they reach adulthood. This document is important to ensuring that you have the right person caring for your children. Without it, the state would have to determine guardianship.

Advanced Health Care Directive

An advance health care directive is also known as a living will. It provides instructions on the level of life-prolonging health interventions you wish to have in the event you become seriously ill. Your directive can indicate your wishes regarding:

  • CPR
  • Medications
  • Dialysis treatment
  • Tube feeding
  • Artificial ventilation
  • Palliative care
  • Organ and tissue donation

With this document prepared ahead of time, you can spare your family of the stress of having to make tough medical decisions on your behalf.

Power of Attorney

Your estate plan should include a Power of Attorney document. This allows you to appoint someone to act on your behalf should you become incapacitated. This person will be able to manage your assets as if they were you, so it should be someone you can trust, like a spouse, business partner, or trusted friend. You can also select a power of attorney for health care decisions. If you’re unable to tell medical professionals your wishes, the person you appoint will be able to make these choices for you.

Financial Analysis

As part of the estate planning process, the Law Office of Kyle W. Jones performs a comprehensive financial analysis. This analysis of your current financial situation will help us provide the appropriate recommendations for protecting your estate so that you can leave behind as much as possible to your loved ones.

The right estate plan can ensure your final wishes are carried out and your family is provided for after your death.