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Why Is Estate Planning Important?

Sonoma County Estate Planning Lawyer

Individuals nearing the final stages of life recognize the importance of life planning. After spending decades working hard and building up their assets, they want to ensure that their legacy lives on. However, estate planning is not just for those who are preparing for their golden years. People at every stage of life should spend some time creating a comprehensive estate plan.

Do I need an estate plan if I’m single?

 As you get started in your career and start putting money away for retirement, estate planning may be low on your list of priorities. However, it is highly recommended that you create an estate plan at this stage in life. Naming beneficiaries for your retirement plans allows you to prepare for the unlikely and ensure that your retirement accounts would go to those closest to you. If you have life insurance, you should name a beneficiary. Additionally, consider what would happen to you if you became incapacitated. Unless you draft a health care power of attorney, you may not have anyone advocating on your behalf if you are incapacitated.

How does an estate plan help if I’m married?

Getting married is an exciting stage of life, and no one wants to dampen that excitement by talking about estate planning and death. While it may not be the most romantic part of starting your life as a married couple, you and your new spouse can protect each other with an estate plan.

At this point, you will likely need to change beneficiary designations on your life insurance and retirement plans, assuming that you want all of your assets to go to your spouse after you pass. Similarly, you may also want to change your power of attorney to your spouse.

This is the point where many individuals begin writing wills or establishing trusts. This allows you to provide for your new spouse in the event of your death and protect their quality of life.

Do I need an estate plan if I have children? 

For many people, having children is a major motivation for beginning the estate planning process. You want your children to be provided for if you pass away, and without the right estate planning documents, your wishes for your children may be unclear.

To start, you may want to change your life insurance plan. Many people substantially increase their life insurance policy when they have children. This allows you to provide for your children’s quality of life after your passing.

At this point, it is important to explore your will and trust options with an estate planning attorney. A will allows you to name a guardian for your children in the event of your death. A trust is another important estate planning tool that permits you to choose how your assets are handled if you pass away or become incapacitated. Make sure to update your estate plan each time you have a child.

What do seniors need to think about during estate planning?

As you enter the empty nest and retirement stages of life, your estate planning goals may change considerably. If your children are on their own and living independently, your focus may return to providing for your spouse’s needs should you pass away. Depending on the assets you have available, you may want to adjust your life insurance policy and your beneficiary designations.

This is an excellent time to review your will, trust, and other estate planning documents. Now that you are looking ahead to building a legacy and providing for the next generation, you may want to adjust your estate plan accordingly. Some use this time to set aside assets for charity or figure out how their assets can be used to provide for a loved one with special needs.

We Are Here to Help with Your Estate Plan 

At Gullotta Law Group, we know that your estate planning needs will change multiple times throughout your life, and we want to help you through all of it. That is why we offer a free case evaluation for new clients. Schedule your consultation online or call us at 707-938-7234.

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