General Estate Planning Info

General Estate Planning Information

Never Leave it up to the state. It is important that YOU decide what you would like to do! In general, clients come to me because they do not want to rely on the State of California for general estate planning information of their will or trust. They do not want the state to dictate who will manage their finances and health care decisions. Individuals want to make their own decisions and give guidance to those they have named to take on the various roles. The type of estate plan depends upon the client’s goals which often include include:

  • Get the estate to the chosen beneficiaries
  • Maximize the value of the estate (minimize probate costs and estate taxes)
  • Provide for money management for the client during any period of incapacity


Estate Planning Term & Definitions

Testator – Person signing a will
Settlor – Person setting up the trust
Trustee – Person managing the trust assets
Beneficiary – Person receiving the beneficial enjoyment from a trust or will
Principal – Person signing a Power of Attorney
Agent – Named to act for the principal (Financial Power of Attorney/Advanced Health Care Directive)


Documents Related to an Estate Plan

Will – a document that names an executor to handle the management of the estate after death and distribute the assets to the proper beneficiaries.

Trust – an agreement for the management of assets both during lifetime and after death.

Durable power of Attorney for Finances – names someone to act as your agent in the event that you are not able to manage your finances due to incapacity.

Advance Health Care Directive – names someone to act as your agent for making health care decisions in the event that you cannot make such decisions due to incapacity.