Estate planning can seem daunting if you are unfamiliar with the process. Many people in Oceanside, CA delay the process, believing they have plenty of time to plan how and to whom they should give their assets. The truth is, it’s never too early to start evaluating your assets; regardless of your financial status, age, or your familial situation, an established estate planning attorney can guide you through the process with compassion, professionalism, and knowledge. Having the certainty that everything from wills, guardianships, powers of attorney, and other documents are complete and filed according to your personal preferences can ease any worries you may have about protecting your family’s future and your life’s work.
A person’s assets are essentially the things they own, including properties such as homes and businesses. They also include personal possessions of any value as long as they are important to a person; financial holdings, as well as objects of sentimental value, belong in this category. Professional legal counsel is crucial to help you determine which assets to include in your estate.
If the thought of planning for your passing seems too emotionally overwhelming, an estate planning attorney will help you identify and file the proper documentation and communicate your wishes to family members with empathy. A worst-case scenario requiring another person to take over guardianship of children may also be part of a person’s plan and will provide security for your loved ones in the face of the unknown.
Because of its emotional and intensely personal nature, many people avoid estate planning altogether or leave it until the last minute, which adds stress to an unexpected illness or may lead to strife between family members. Often, people feel uncomfortable sharing their family dynamics and financial situation with another person, even with a reputable and skilled legal advocate. Our team can offer the utmost compassion for our clients and ease any discomfort and trepidation, allowing for a smooth process that provides the highest level of protection for your assets and loved ones.
We have successfully handled hundreds of estate planning cases and can help navigate a daunting, emotionally difficult task. Whether you require a basic will or a more complex trust, power of attorney plans, or probate administration, our attorneys can rise to the challenge and ensure we apply our extensive knowledge and skills to produce timely and outstanding results.
Our lead attorney, Paul V. Campo, has over three decades of experience with every aspect of estate planning, including probate, powers of attorney, guardianships, wills, and more. Our firm has extensive knowledge to guide clients through California’s complicated court procedures and deadlines.
Moreover, we are dedicated to hearing and honoring our clients’ wishes, and we do not impose decisions upon others or act patronizingly. Rest assured that we can respectfully and responsibly approach your unique needs with personalization, practical solutions, and no outside agenda interfering with client goals.
Estate planning is the legal procedure that anticipates what will happen to one’s estate, which includes their assets, properties, businesses, and/or children, in the event of their passing or a health event that leaves them incapacitated and unable to make decisions any longer. Whatever assets are owned by the individual should be listed, assigned a value, and then divided as they have indicated. Regardless of a person’s net worth, all assets they deem important should be secured for your loved ones after you are gone.
Our team can assist in determining who will receive which assets, who will be given the right to make critical health decisions on your behalf, and in the event that minor children exist who will require guardianship, any other adults who you designate to provide care for them and manage their finances until they come of age.
Power of attorney is especially important in estate planning because it specifically designates an individual to make decisions on your behalf. For instance, in the event of a healthcare crisis, someone to whom you grant a medical power of attorney (POA) will make informed and compassionate decisions about your care that reflect your wishes at the end of your life.
Power of attorney designation also covers financial areas of a person’s life, with the person giving approval for another to make decisions about legal and financial issues in the event they are physically or mentally prevented from doing so.
Many people, in the course of planning for their estate, decide to appoint both a medical power of attorney and a durable financial power of attorney, as these options provide coverage for both situations. This affords better protection for a person’s physical and mental well-being and also ensures their assets are properly distributed.
The cost of procuring a Power of Attorney in California is affected by the unique factors of the case, but a person can anticipate paying about $300. If the document is especially long and complex or has extremely extensive or detailed information regarding health decisions, guardianship or assets, this will impact the final cost. Your attorney will advise you about creating the Power of Attorney so that it holds up under the law while also clarifying your desires upon your passing. Notary fees for the document and additional certified copies are also $15 each.
These are the components of a Power of Attorney form:
Title: The title identifies the specific type of Power of Attorney, specifically if the document is a General, Durable, Limited, or Springing Power of Attorney.
Date: The document must be dated, which occurs when it is signed and notarized. Documents are also traditionally dated with the start date of the project.
The Principal and the Agent: The principal’s and agent’s (or assignor’s) names and addresses are identified at the top. The principal is the person granting the Power of Attorney, and the agent is the person who accepts the responsibility of having the Power of Attorney.
Specific Powers: The specific powers refer to the actual responsibilities that the principal wishes for the agent to fulfill. The powers are specific to the type of Power of Attorney being granted.
How Powers Are Revoked: The document includes an expiration date indicating how or when the POA ends, often stating something along the lines of “when the POA responsibility has been accomplished.”
Compensation: If the principal is paying the agent or anticipates the principal incurring expenses attached to their responsibilities, this must be written in the document.
Signatures: Both the principal and the agent need to sign the POA to show that they are in agreement on all the terms outlined.
Notarization and Witnesses: California requires either a notary to witness the principals’ signature or two witnesses. Any witness to the POA must be present in person to acknowledge the principal’s signing of the document, or they must be present in person to accept the notary’s acknowledgment.
California law requires that a POA must be either signed by a public notary or signed by two witnesses. The principal can never serve as one of the witnesses, as they are the person granting the agent power over decision-making.
The ideal form for a person depends on their specific needs. There are four types of POA noted below:
Limited Power of Attorney: This type of POA is for limited purposes only and does not last after the assignor’s task has been completed. This document typically provides a start and end date to the task so that, once everything is complete, the agent no longer has any decision-making abilities.
General Power of Attorney: This type of POA is more comprehensive and only applies as long as the principal is alive and capable of making sound decisions.
Durable Power of Attorney: This simply refers to the principal granting power to the agent in the event they become incapacitated. This type of POA is especially powerful, as it enables the agent to make decisions on behalf of the assignor even when they are physically or mentally unable to do so themselves.
Springing Power of Attorney: This applies only in very specific instances and for a specified time, date, or event once certain events or factors occur. If someone is suddenly incapacitated and needs another person to “spring up” and take over their decision-making, this document would allow for that.
The estate planning attorney can always provide you with Power of Attorney forms, but you can also procure them at stores that sell pre-printed legal forms. Power of Attorney forms can also be downloaded from the California Legislative Information website.
The dedicated team at the Estate Preservation Group can help with every aspect of your estate planning, regardless of your age, family dynamics, health, or finances. It is never too early to plan for the welfare and security of your loved ones after you are gone; preparing for their futures entails evaluating and dividing your assets, determining suitable guardianship for minors, assessing properties, and accounting for business interests. Estate planning is a way to show your family and beneficiaries your love and dedication to their well-being.
No one can predict a sudden health crisis that leaves a person unable to care for their children or themselves, and both you and your family deserve physical and financial protection in the face of an unforeseen tragedy. Do not hesitate to schedule a consultation with a compassionate and skilled attorney who can help you explore estate planning options that are right for you. Contact our office today for an initial consultation.
The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice
regarding your individual situation. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship.