If you count yourself among the many adults in California who do not yet have an estate plan, know that you do not have to expend considerable time, energy and expense to create an effective one. Instead, many people are able to accomplish their most important estate planning objectives by creating an estate plan that has three main components.
When you have no estate plan to speak of, consider drafting one that has a will, an advance health care directive and a power of attorney.
A will helps ensure that the people you want to inherit your estate actually do so. Without a will, what happens to your estate is up to the state of California, and things may not end up where you want them. Having a will gives you a way to decide exactly who you want to receive exactly what after your death.
The advance health care directive
An advance directive gives your loved ones or medical team something to fall back on and refer to if you become incapacitated. There are several types of advance medical directives. While they differ somewhat, they all give you a way to dictate your wishes if you become unable to express them due to unforeseen circumstances.
The power of attorney
Giving someone power of attorney helps you make sure someone manages your debts and finances if you become unable to do so yourself.
Having a will, an advance directive and a power of attorney in place enhances peace of mind and prepares you in the event that the unthinkable occurs.