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AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION Why you need an estate plan

Many people believe that estate planning is only for the rich. The truth is that almost everyone needs some level of estate planning. Even if you don’t have a lot of assets, an estate plan can help you and your loved ones at some of the most difficult times in your lives. A well designed estate plan can go a long way in creating peace in the family, avoiding lengthy and expensive court proceedings, and preserving your legacy.

For example, an estate plan can be helpful in letting others know who you would like to be in charge of making medical decisions for you if you were to become incompetent. Or, designate a person to have the authority to take care of your finances if you were to be hospitalized or unable to take care of yourself for any length of time. You can even decide what level of end of life care you would like to receive. If you are a parent with minor children, an estate plan can help you designate a suitable guardian for your child in case something were to happen to you.

As far as dealing with assets is concerned, estate planning is flexible enough to address your individual and family needs. For example, a simple will can help distribute your assets without the need of unwarranted tension and confusion in the family. A trust can help you distribute your assets seamlessly while avoiding the cost and delays of probate. If the gross value of your probate assets are over $150,000 (one hundred and fifty thousand dollars), the statutory probate attorney and executor fees can become quite sizable. Additionally, a business succession plan can assure that your business is transferred according to your wishes.

As you can see, an estate plan is like a toolbox with a number of tools that can be used together, or separately to achieve your individual goals. A well designed estate plan can bring a measure of certainty and stability to your loved ones when they need it the most. Drafting your estate planning documents now will also bring you peace of mind knowing that your family and loved ones are cared for in the long run.

Haleh Razzaghi is an estate planning, conservatorship, and guardianship attorney in San Diego, California. You may contact her by emailing her at or calling (858)367-9876. For more information please see

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