Estate Planning

Are You Looking to Protect Your Estate?

Our Santa Clara Estate Planning Attorneys Explain the Benefits of Planning Ahead

From a young age, we are taught to work hard so that we can have the house, the car and any other valuable assets we might want. What we are largely not taught until much later (if at all) is how to protect what we have worked so hard to accumulate. Whether your estate is large or small, you will benefit from taking the time to go through the estate planning process. Having a straightforward estate plan will give you power over what happens to each and every asset you own. This will leave little room for interpretation or retaliation on behalf of your beneficiaries as well as guarantee that nothing is left to chance. If you do not plan effectively, the valuables that you have worked so hard for may fall into the hands of undesired beneficiaries.

The experienced Santa Clara estate planning attorneys at Gomez Edwards Law Group, LLP have helped countless individuals draft strong, effective and individualized estate plans that work for them. Since opening the doors to their California law firm, close friends and respected attorneys Lauren Edwards and Natalie Gomez have dedicated their careers to helping those who need it most. Approaching each case with personalized attention, both women are knowledgeable and professional estate planning lawyers who can help individuals trying to plan estates large and small.

What Is Estate Planning?

Despite its title, “estate planning” can pertain to more than just your physical estate. Values and traditions, for example, can also be passed down in an estate plan. Plans can be as detailed or as simple as the estate owner pleases. However, the more detailed the plan, the less room for interpretation (which can lessen the potential of any legal issues sprouting up in the future). In order to make an effective and detailed estate plan, it is important to address the following:

  1. Instructions. It is highly recommended that you provide instructions for a wide variety of topics including, but not limited to, naming Power of Attorney in the event you become disabled due to illness, how items are to be distributed in the event of your death and life insurance information as it pertains to each family member. Similarly, you can also name any traditions and values (religious, charitable or otherwise) that are to continue in the event of your disability or death.
  2. Name caretakers. If there are dependent children involved, you should name a guardian to take care of them in the event of your disability and/or death. This also includes naming caretakers for any dependent adult family members that you take care of. In this section of the estate plan, you can also deem a financial institution that will be in charge of maintaining any inheritances of these dependents.  
  3. Business plans. If you own or are otherwise involved in a business, you can lay out what you would like to happen to your shares, the direction you would like to see the business grow, who replaces you and other similar details in the event of your retirement, disability or death.

These are only some of the topics that you should hit on in order to draft a strong estate plan. Additionally, it is important to note that estate planning can evolve and fluctuate. This can be related to changing relationships in the family, business or other life events. Whatever the reason, once you start an estate plan with one of our Santa Clara estate planning attorneys, we consider that plan an ongoing process. You are always welcome to revise any draft of an estate plan at any time.  

What Happens If an Estate Plan Does Not Exist?

If an estate owner becomes incapacitated or dies and there is no estate plan in place, this can lead to some complications. While the person is alive and incapacitated, for example, there is no delegation of powers or designation of who should be managing their care or assets until they pass. Once the person passes, the individual’s estate will enter into probate: a time consuming and expensive process necessary to divide and distribute the estate. The estate will pass through the probate process entirely according to the laws of California, and will not be reflective of any other individual wishes that the deceased may have had.

Even when no legal issues arise from the absence of an estate plan, family members can be left without closure. If a loved one dies without specifying instructions as to what to do with their things, family members can struggle with an impossible-to-answer question: What would they want me to do with their things? Sure, we can surmise what they would want, but without an established estate plan in place, surviving loved ones will never know for sure. You can help provide them with that closure by working with knowledgeable Santa Clara estate planning attorneys to draft a solid and explicit estate plan.  

Estate Planning Questions? Our Attorneys Have Answers — Call Today

After dedicating so much to acquiring your prized possessions, does it not make sense to protect them? Natalie and Lauren are established Santa Clara estate planning attorneys who know what makes a strong estate plan. They can help you quickly and efficiently draft a plan that works for you, allowing you to get back to your life faster with better peace of mind about the future.

If you would like to speak with either Natalie or Lauren before committing to a working relationship, please contact us online or call (408) 413-1200 to schedule a consultation today.