You might know you should make an estate plan, but that does not mean you will. Many people never get around to it. In part because they do not know where to start.
Here are the three main areas to think about:
What happens if you get seriously ill?
You need to have contingencies in place to cover the costs if, in later life, you need medical treatment or need to move into residential care. While Medicaid or Medi-Cal, as it is known in California, can cover you for this, it will seek to use your assets first unless you keep them below the stipulated threshold.
Remember, there is a 30-month look-back period, so if you aim to get below the threshold, you might need to start sooner than you think. Otherwise, Medi-Cal could seek to seize assets you gave away.
You also need to set out any healthcare preferences and nominate someone to talk to medics on your behalf if you are left incapacitated.
What happens if you die much sooner than expected?
If you have children and die before they turn 18, someone must look after them. You should nominate a guardian for this and think about how you can fund them, as your children themselves will not be able to inherit until they become 18.
What happens when you die?
Maybe you figure that people can sort out who gets what themselves. Yet the law does not work like that. If you do not make your wishes clear, a court will decide. Doing nothing increases the possibility your family fights over the things you left and that more money than necessary goes to the tax office.
Making an estate plan does not have to be difficult. Get legal help to make it easier.