The Value Of An Effective Estate Plan

At The Law Offices of Sallie Manley, my primary goal is to ensure that each client has an effective estate plan in place to protect them in the face of unexpected life events and economic shifts and upon death when assets of the estate will pass to beneficiaries. Many people in California do not appreciate the value of a comprehensive, effective estate plan — or the necessity of reviewing their estate plan every year or so and updating the plan when needed. Instead, many Californians think executing a will is sufficient.

For most people in San Diego County, a will is simply not enough, mainly because a will does not become effective until death. Californians need to be able to assure continuity of management and control of assets and income well before death. As an attorney, I help clients understand how to put in place estate planning measures and techniques to preserve and protect their interests during life, during incapacity, and upon death. As an attorney, I can help you prepare for assuring the continuity of management and control of your assets and lifestyle preferences by having in place a comprehensive, effective estate plan.

Common Elements Of An Estate Plan

Each estate plan is unique. As an attorney, I encourage clients to consider five (5) key elements of an estate plan:

  • A Will: A Will becomes effective upon the death of the testator. The Will governs assets that are subject to the Will.
  • A Trust: A Trust is another way of holding title to assets so as to assure the continuity of management and control of assets and income subject to the trust during a particular period and to prescribe disposition of those assets and income to beneficiaries.
  • A Power of Attorney: A power of attorney establishes an agency relationship between a principal and agent. An agent has fiduciary duties to the principal. A power of attorney can be a very useful and flexible tool in that the drafter can define the scope of authority and other conditions of purpose and use.
  • An Advance Directive for Health Care: An advance directive for health care allows a principal to nominate a person to serve as an agent for health care decision making under certain circumstances. In addition, the directive offers the principal the opportunity to set forth certain preferences for certain health care decisions.
  • Designated beneficiaries: Certain accounts, such as life insurance policies, IRAs, 401(k) plans, annuities, and certain bank accounts, are designed to allow the owner of the account to designate beneficiaries on the account. Upon the death of the owner, the designated beneficiary of the account is entitled to receive the funds by operation of the law (not probate, not through a separate trust). Within the context of estate planning, it is important for the owner of the account to regularly review designated beneficiary accounts and make sure the named beneficiaries are current.

Take Proactive Steps Now

If you are ready to take advantage of the benefits that the five elements of an effective, comprehensive estate plan can offer you, please call to schedule an appointment at my law office in La Mesa, California: Take a proactive step now toward your own future. Please call 619-916-3296 or email me at sallie@samanley.net.