You have probably heard the expression “estate planning” on television or the radio, but are you familiar with the components of a complete estate plan? Most people are not, so in today’s post, we will provide you with a brief introduction to everything involved in estate planning.

If you would like to learn more about estate planning, then get in touch with The Law Offices of Janis A Carney. As a Top Rated Local® law firm in Silicon Valley, we are dedicated to providing each of clients with exceptional legal counsel and direction. Call our office at 408-402-6440 today to get started.

What Is an Estate Plan?

While the word “estate” is often associated with opulent homes and large properties, the legal definition of the word used by estate planning attorneys actually refers to the whole of your assets. Your vehicles, your banking and investment accounts, your home, your belongings, and anything else under your ownership are all included in your estate. Estate planning is the process of determining what will happen to your assets if you pass away or become disabled and/or incapacitated. Each of these assets requires careful consideration and, as you may expect, can quickly become overwhelming because of logistical hurdles, paperwork, and complex regulations.

Why Is Estate Planning Important?

There are many reasons why it is important to have a thorough estate plan, but avoiding a drawn-out probate process is the main reason why you need an estate plan. In the event that you pass away or become incapacitated due to an illness or injury without a plan in place, a court-appointed individual will take charge of your assets until you recover or pass away. If you pass away without a plan in place, then your assets will be managed according to the rules of intestate succession. This process allows your relatives to be the inheritors of your estate; however, the costs of the legal proceedings will be subtracted from their inheritance. This process can take months, or even years, depending on the size and complexity of your estate.

Though your estate may be given to an heir you would have chosen anyway, there are cases in which you may not wish for your assets to be given to a particular heir. Making your wishes explicit in an estate plan with the help of an estate planning attorney is the only way to ensure that your estate is managed and distributed exactly as you want.

At The Law Offices of Janis A Carney, we work with clients who have large, small, relatively simple, and complex estates. Life moves quickly and is unpredictable, so the best time to begin the estate planning process is right now. No matter what assets you possess, it is highly important to ensure that your wishes are honored in the event that you can no longer manage your estate.

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