Most people think an estate plan is for rich, old people.
But the truth is if you have a young family, you need an estate plan. Full stop.
Here’s how an estate plan protects your kids.
If you and your spouse go down in a plane crash while the kids are staying with grandma and grandpa, guess who will decide who takes care of them?
Grandma and grandpa?
Nope, nope and nope.
The State of California will decide for you!
Some random judge that has never met you or your family will decide who takes care of your kids and who gets your money.
It’s called probate court. It’s the court that decides what happens to your children (and stuff and money) if you’re gone…
…unless you have an estate plan. Then a probate judge doesn’t make any decisions for you.
If you have an estate plan, YOU decide what happens to your kids and stuff and money if you’re gone.
WARNING! A will is NOT the same as an estate plan.
A will is just a suggestion made to the probate judge. She’ll take it into consideration, but she’s not legally required to follow it.
So now what you know you need one, how does it actually work?
A better term for an estate plan would be an “instruction manual“.
An estate plan is actually a collection of 3 documents that are instructions for what to do if you’re either 1) dead or 2) a vegetable. (Fun stuff, huh?)
The first step is to make some decisions.
The people you choose have no legal obligation to raise your kids or manage your money. So you want to know if they’re up to the task if god-forbid they are called upon to do so.
You may find that your sister would raise your kids, but she’d want someone else to shoulder the burden of managing the money.
Or you may find your friends are thinking of moving back East and you wouldn’t want your kids raised anywhere, but California.
So make sure you talk to your “people” before drafting it into a legal document.
The final step is to hire an estate attorney. After completing steps 1 and 2, you’ll be incredibly prepared and having an attorney draft the documents will be smooth sailing.
Also, since you’ve been thinking about these decisions for a while, it will all make way more sense when you encounter the inevitable lawyer-ese.
WARNING! Only hire an actual estate attorney!
Many attorneys who draft estate plans are general litigators. They do “estate planning” as a side hustle for extra cash. DO NOT WORK WITH THEM! You want an attorney who only works with trusts and estates. This is important stuff and you need an expert.
Ask your friends and coworkers for referrals. If you live in California, we work with a couple of fantastic estate attorneys. Click here to contact them.
After you hire your attorney, they’ll take care of the rest. You’ll usually meet with the attorney twice – once to discuss your decisions and once to sign your documents.
In California, you should expect to pay around $3,000 for your estate plan. Outside of California, it could be half that.
That said, it’s a once in a lifetime fee. You may pay more if you need to make big changes, but most estate attorneys will make minor revisions for free.
And if you need major revisions, they’ll charge their hourly rate – usually $200-300/hr.
We are not attorneys, nor do we play one on TV. However, we are intimately involved in the process.
You need an estate plan to protect your kids and your money. It ensures both will end up in the right hands if you’re gone.
It’s not optional. An estate plan is an absolute necessity for all parents.
If you don’t have a trusted advisor to accompany you on your journey to developing your estate plan, then schedule your Discovery Call with us.
It’s literally our job to help you with this stuff.