What Are The Basic Estate Planning Tools

By Pantea I. Fozouni

March 9, 2020

Estate planning expert, Pantea Fozouni, will guide you slowly through what could be a very confusing journey, to ensure you know, for you and your family’s highest benefit, what are the key items you need, to set up your estate. **hint—even if you’re 18, heading off to college, there are things that can make ALL the difference, in the rest of your life.

What are the basic estate planning tools I need?

My name is Pantea Fozouni with Palm Desert Law Group and today we’re going to talk about basic estate planning documents that all of us need. Now, if you are over the age of 18, there are two, really three, documents that basically all adults need. The first is what’s called Advanced Healthcare Directive, the second is a Power of Attorney, and the third is a basic Will.

If you have any type of assets, if you own a home, if you own retirement accounts, investment accounts, anything else, then it’s also important to also talk about a trust because you may also need a trust, but at the very least, we all need an Advanced Healthcare Directive, a power of attorney, as well as a basic will.

1. Advanced Health Care Directive

An Advanced Healthcare Directive here in California is basically a legal document that says what your wishes are in the event that you end up in the hospital.

So it’ll have basic provisions, such as whether you want a prolonged life or not prolonged life, if there are any particular dietary needs that you have, if you’re vegan, gluten-free, vegetarian, paleo, anything like that, you can put those type of instructions on, and the most important thing is you’re designating who your agents are going to be who are going to have the ability to make healthcare decisions for you in the event that you are not able to make those healthcare decisions.

2. Power of Attorney

A Power of Attorney is basically giving someone the authority to be able to pay your bills and keep the lights on for you during the time that you're incapacitated, during th time that you're in that hospital.

Without that, or without the Advanced Healthcare Directive, the people you love, the people who are going to be taking care of you, are actually going to have to go to court to be appointed so that they have the rights to do those things.

And, one, we want to make things as simple as possible for the ones we love, but two, particularly in the event of if you’re in the hospital, sometimes you have minutes and days to make decisions, not potentially days and weeks to go through the court process for someone to be able to make vitally important decisions for you.

3. A Will

Even if you think you have nothing, you have something and so it's important to have at least a very basic Will that's going to talk about where you want your assets to go.

And, if you’re a parent, it’s incredibly important for you to have a will because you’re going to want to name long-term guardians for your kids.

Why? Because if you don’t name them, then it’s going to be up to a judge, a complete stranger, who’s going to make those decisions for you where your kids are going to go. And for all of the parents out here, I know that that’s one of the major things that we think about all of the time in terms of what’s going to happen to my kids if something happens to me?

The beautiful thing is when you do even Bare, basic estate planning, even if you’re just doing Advanced Healthcare Directive, Power of Attorney, and Will, you’re going to have some control as opposed to leaving all of the control in the hands of someone who doesn’t know you and who doesn’t know your family.

Almost Bulletproof — Get a Trust

Now, I mentioned that if you have some assets, if you own a home, if you have retirement accounts, bank accounts, other types of assets, life insurance, if you have stuff, having those bare, basic documents is not going to be enough to protect your family. However, this small video is going to end up being too long if I try to cram it all into this one video so I have a whole separate video of talking just about trusts and what you need for the trust in our next video. So, please check that out.

This article is a service of Pantea I. Fozouni, Family Business Lawyer®. We don’t just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That’s why we offer a Family Wealth Planning Session™, during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before and make all the best choices for the people you love. Go online today to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session and find out how to get this $750 session at no charge.

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