Many across California and the rest of the country mistakenly believe that estate plans are solely for those with a high net worth. Of course, if you have significant property and assets, an estate plan is critical to plan for the future. However, an estate plan contains much more than you may think and is not just a way for the wealthy to preserve and transfer substantial assets.

The purposes of estate planning

Estate planning has several purposes. The first, and most obvious purpose, is to leave behind a legacy and to help your loved ones. If you have a family, creating an estate plan can ease the probate process after your death or in some cases, avoid probate altogether. You can get started by simply having a will or by incorporating other estate planning components into your plan, such as a trust, power of attorney, health care directive and more. Second, an estate plan can memorialize your wishes for certain choices of yours, such as who would take care of your minor children and the medical care that you would want if you were not able to speak your wishes.

How to draft an estate plan

Drafting an estate plan is not as difficult as you may think. You need to focus on your priorities, what you value most and the people that you need to take care of in your plan. Then, you would educate yourself as to the various options that are available to you. Finally, you draft your estate plan and sign the papers that are necessary to formalize your plan.

You may be intimated about the process of establishing an estate plan. This is where an estate planning attorney can help you and your family. A lawyer may review your particular situation and then make suggestions to you for what could work for you. Then, the attorney might assist by drafting the relevant documents for your signature. An estate plan is something that must be done correctly, and this is where professional legal assistance can be beneficial.