When many Redding, California, residents think of estate planning, the first thing that may come to mind is getting a lawyer to help them prepare a will. A will is indeed a very important part of a California resident's overall estate plan since it legally specifies who gets a person's property after they die. However, a will is only one document a person might need as part of a complete estate plan.
For example, a person needs to plan not only for what will happen to their property after they die but also needs to decide who will make decisions regarding their property, and even their health care, as they age and become more likely to suffer a decline in health.
Some documents a person might need for the latter case include a power of attorney, a health care proxy and a living will. Readers should be aware that these documents could be referred to by other names depending on who one asks, but they all serve the basic purpose of ensuring that people are provided for and their final wishes are respected at the end of their lives.
Moreover, even with respect to someone's property, a will may not be all they need for estate planning purposes. For instance, it might be appropriate for them to create a living or testamentary trust for legal and other reasons. In other cases, the use of real estate deeds, beneficiary designation forms and the like are important, particularly if they have a lot of wealth tied up in a retirement account or in a home.
What documents a person needs to prepare and sign in the course of estate planning is a question a Redding, California, attorney with experience in estate planning and probate can answer.