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Picture of Denise E. Oxley

San Diego Estate Planning Lawyer

Estate Planning is for Everyone

If you are like a large percentage of the population, estate planning is not the first thing that comes to your mind when you are having your morning coffee. If it crosses your mind in the wee hours, you may put it off to another day. But before you put off the decision to create an estate plan, think about the new reality of Covid-19, the answers to which may have greater, immediate impact and require you to act now. As a San Diego Estate Planning Lawyer, I will help you to answer the following questions:

  • What happens if I get sick, incapacitated, or die?
  • What happens if I cannot make my own healthcare or financial decisions anymore?
  • What happens if a parent or another family member gets sick?
  • What happens if my parents cannot make their own decisions about healthcare or their finances anymore?
  • Who will care for my children if I die?
  • I have animals. How will they be cared for if I die?
What Does an Estate Plan Consist of and How Will it Help Me?

A complete estate plan will include:

  1. A trust, which can be revocable or irrevocable.
  2. A will.
  3. An Advance Health Care Directive and
  4. Power of Attorney for finances.

Developing an estate plan is intended to give you peace of mind. You can plan for life’s events and create a plan in the event of your death. You are likely to have a number of goals and objectives you want to achieve through your estate plan. These should be carefully considered and discussed with your attorney so that your estate plan can be tailored to meet your needs.

Some of the benefits of having an estate plan include:

  1. The ability to exercise control over personal decisions such as appointing a person you trust to make healthcare decisions for you, manage your day-to-day affairs when and if such becomes necessary and to manage and preserve your estate in the event of a catastrophic illness or death;
  2. The ability to appoint a person you trust to take care of your children;
  3. The ability to preserve your assets from devastating costs of nursing home care;
  4. The ability to minimize your overall legal fees; and,
  5. The ability to prescribe the plan by which your estate is managed, used, and distributed.
What Assets Should I put Into my Estate Plan?
  1. Your house.
  2. Your life insurance policies.
  3. Your savings, including bank accounts and retirement plans.
  4. Your personal items such as jewelry, automobiles.
  5. Your business interests.
What Happens if I Die Without an Estate Plan?

If you die without an estate plan, California, like many other states, will make a plan for you. In practical terms, that means that a judge will appoint someone to make decisions for your personal care, manage your financial affairs such as pay your bills and decide who will take care of your minor children. If you are incapacitated during your lifetime, the judge will appoint a conservator for you to care of these matters.

Asking the court to appoint a conservator is expensive, time-consuming and places your private affairs in the public court record, all of which can be avoided with an estate plan.

Why Should I Avoid Probate?

In California, it can take as long as two years to complete a probate and distribute assets to heirs. It is a costly and public procedure. Attorney fees are mandated by statute and are based upon a percentage of your estate. You will also save yourself the emotional costs of grieving your loss at the same time as you are involved in the legal probate process.

As your estate planning lawyer serving San Diego, I will help you to avoid probate and reach your estate planning goals so that you have the peace of mind you need and deserve.