From the Desk of San Diego Trust Attorney, Kristina Hess of San Diego Will and Trust firm, KR Hess Law…
San Diego Estate Planning needs a new name. Most people in Del Mar, Carmel Valley, Solana Beach, Santa Luz, Rancho Santa Fe and San Diego County that I speak with, when they think of estate planning, words like elderly, wealthy, or death often come to mind. It also conjures images of vast tracks of land surrounded by high fences and homes built in the image of Versailles, right? However accurate the word associations that go with “estate planning” may be, one thing is certain: Everyone needs some form of estate planning, even the young, single, and broke. Bet those words didn’t come to your mind though!
Living Plans for the Young
There are a couple of essential documents that everyone needs, whether you have a family with children or are a single professional in the corporate fast lane.
Durable Power of Attorney
The first thing everyone needs is a durable power of attorney. There are many varieties of the durable power of attorney. The most popular variety goes into effect only when a doctor concludes and certifies that you are without capacity to make legally binding decisions. Without a durable power of attorney, your spouse, parents, siblings, live-in partner, or other loved ones would have to petition a court for the right to handle things for you. In California that process is known as a petition to be a conservator or a conservatorship proceeding. I know a family that had to go through the expense (a few thousand dollars), time delay, and also hassle of having the young husband and father who had a stroke declared incapacitated by the court.
A conservatorship proceeding is an additional hassle your loved ones won’t want or need if they’re faced with your incapacity. All you need to do to set up a financial durable power of attorney is select a friend or family member that you trust to act as your “agent,” and contact our offices. We can handle the rest for you!
Advance Health Care Directive
Another document that everyone needs is what is known in California as an Advanced Health Care Directive. This directive appoints a medical power of attorney (someone who can make health care decisions for you if you are not able), and also turns your end of life wishes into directives. Giving loved ones the authority to handle your financial affairs in case of incapacity isn’t enough. Someone needs to be in charge of making medical decisions on your behalf in the event that you are severely incapacitated. Leaving the burden of tough decisions to a group is unfair. Moreover, you need to designate one person who is capable, willing, and emotionally strong enough to carry out your wishes and look out for your best interests.
Life planning is not something that you want to tackle alone. There is simply too much at stake, especially when professionals like us are available to help you create and implement a plan that is appropriate for your situation, whether you need only the documents listed above or a full blown estate plan with a will and revocable living trust and a kids protection plan (providing for your minor children).
Normally, our Family Wealth Planning consultations cost $750, but every month we offer a limited number of free consultations. Once they fill up, they are gone, so we look forward to hearing from you. The first two people to call our offices, mention this article, and schedule an appointment will get to meet with Kristina Hess at no charge. Don’t wait, because our schedule fills up fast . . . even at full price.
Also ask how you can create legacies that last.
San Diego Estate Attorney