New Year’s Resolution: Make or Update Your Estate Plan

It’s the New Year and everyone has begun to make New Year’s resolutions.

The origin of making New Year’s resolutions rests with the Babylonians, which goes back over 4,000 years. During that time, the ancient Babylonians made promises to their gods at the beginning of each year to plant crops, return objects they borrowed and pay off their debts. Today, New Year’s resolutions are generally personal goals for self-improvement.

Although diet, exercise, and travel usually top most people’s resolutions, many forget forming an estate plan is equally as important. An estate plan is an investment in your peace of mind knowing that your interests and wishes are protected after your death. A complete estate plan also includes essential documents that protect your family if unexpected events occur.

If you are new to the concept of estate planning, it is easy to get overwhelmed, but don’t let that intimidate you. An easy place to start is with the basics. If you have an existing estate plan, it may be time to look it over to see if it is still applicable to your current situation.

Forming an Estate Plan in California

An estate plan is a collection of legal documents detailing how you want your assets distributed when you pass away, and how you want your family to handle health and financial decisions if you cannot do so for yourself.  For many people, this can be a daunting and challenging task. Quite frankly, no one wants to think about dying. However, it is a reality that we must all face at one point or another.

An estate plan takes full inventory of all your finances, properties, assets, medical preferences, and retirement information. Everyone needs an estate plan and if you have yet to create yours, the new year is the perfect time to do so. Estate planning is important for everyone, no matter their age or wealth.

What Happens If You Do Not Have an Estate Plan?

If you do not have an estate plan, California intestate succession law (Cal. Prob. Code § 6400.) determines how your assets will be distributed when you pass away. The sequence usually prioritizes your surviving spouse, followed by your children, then parents, siblings, and extended family members. In the legal world, if you pass without a will specifically, it’s referred to as “intestate.”

In the absence of a complete estate plan, your loved ones will face strenuous decisions when you die or if you become incapacitated during your lifetime. The uncertainty about your wishes can lead to family disputes and create significant friction. Additionally, court proceedings involving your estate may take substantial time to resolve.

Consult with an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney

Estate planning can be a complex process that entails more than just filling out a form and storing it away. It is a process that requires attention to detail. If you’re interested in speaking with an experienced California estate planning lawyer about drafting an estate plan or updating your current one, contact the Botti & Morison Estate Planning Attorneys, Ltd. at (877) 585-1885.

Attorneys Christopher Botti and Paul Morison each have over thirty years of estate planning experience. Mr. Botti, is also a Board Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust, and Probate Law. They personally work with each client from start-to-finish in the process of crafting a customized estate plan. Botti & Morison has made the process simple and affordable. You will have a feeling of empowerment once you complete your estate plan, knowing that your family will be protected from unnecessary probate expenses and potentially devastating tax burdens – and that your final wishes will be followed.

Botti & Morison Estate Planning Attorneys, Ltd. accepts clients throughout California and have offices in Ventura, Westlake Village, Santa Barbara, Valencia, Bakersfield, and San Luis Obispo, California.

From our lawyers and legal team at Botti & Morison Estate Planning Attorneys, we wish you all a warm and happy new year!