DEVELOPING A COMPREHENSIVE, CURRENT ESTATE PLAN
For California residents who have substantial assets, it can be particularly important to plan for the future to help ensure that their heirs and loved ones are able to benefit from them. Making an estate plan is a key step, but it can be only the beginning. It is important to periodically review documents like wills and trusts every three to five years to make certain that they are accurate. In some cases, decisions made at different times can contradict each other or lead to family conflict. In other cases, the laws themselves may have changed, and a different configuration may be more beneficial.
It is also critical to make sure all assets are included in an estate plan. It can be easy to miss assets and properties that are held overseas, especially because U.S. estate documents may not be sufficient to properly transfer them. Taking note of overseas investments can help to create a smooth path for the future. In addition, executors and trustees will need to have key information in order to follow a person's wishes and put them into practice. People who will need them should have copies of power of attorney documents and a way to access a list of digital logins and passwords and obtain a full list of assets.
In addition, it is often best to prepare loved ones in advance and avoid surprises. While this does not have to mean giving out specific numbers, it can mean presenting a general outline or identifying a planned executor or other fiduciary working to administer the estate.
Many people have a vision for how they would like their wealth to benefit their heirs in the future. An estate planning attorney can help people to create trusts, wills, and other documents that can make that a reality.