Estate Planning

Estate planning is for every spouse, parent, grandparent, business owner, or person who takes responsibility for their own well-being and for the well-being of those they love. It is for anyone who seeks to make a difference in the lives of others after they’re gone. 

Estate planning is “life planning” and an essential and rewarding process for individuals and families who engage in it.

Central Coast Law has an in-depth estate planning process that begins with learning about your values and your family’s unique dynamics. Together we develop a plan that protects you and your family and evolves to fulfill your needs over time. Creating sophisticated legal documents is only part of our estate planning service; we build lasting relationships with your family and commit to serving multiple generations.

Do I Need an Estate Plan?

Yes, you do. Whether you are planning for retirement or starting your career fresh out of college, everyone should have a plan for the future. Estate plans can account for more than just where your assets go after you die. Your estate plan can cover:

  • A medical power of attorney
  • The assets you have accumulated — including digital assets
  • Guardianship over children or dependents
  • Guardianship over pets
  • Preventing your student loans from being transferred to your spouse or family
  • A health care directive (that is, [brief definition])
  • Wills
  • Trusts

You can discover all of your options with an estate planning attorney to guide you. You may not be ready to draft a medical directive, or you may not know who to appoint as a trustee or executor. Our experienced attorney can help you make the most informed decisions moving forward.

Ready to make a plan?

Call us today

How Are Digital Assets Handled in California?

In 2017, California enacted a new law that makes it easier for the executor of an estate - the individual has chosen to execute the conditions of a will or trust - to gain access to their loved one's digital assets. Previously, this access required a court order but now only requires one of three things: 

  • The deceased loved one gave prior consent via online permission such as Google’s Inactive Account Manager or Facebook’s Legacy Manager
  • The deceased loved one gave permission in writing
  • The “Terms of Service” can give the heirs permission to access the information, but you will most likely need a court order to gain access.

You should consult with an experienced attorney before attempting to acquire the digital assets of your loved one if access was not granted before death. 

Why Do Digital Assets Matter? 

Digital assets can be anything from photos, emails, and writing to financial information, social media accounts, and music collections. When you are creating an estate plan, it is important to consider whether you would want anyone to access these things or not. You may want to leave financial accounts or business information to only certain individuals, in which case you would need to stipulate that within your estate plan. 

Your estate plan may also include a directive for a specific person to manage or delete certain digital assets upon your passing. 

Living Trusts

A trust agreement gives an individual called a “trustee” legal title and control over another person’s — called a beneficiary —  assets and property. A living trust is created when you are alive, rather than one you create via your will or testament.

The main advantage of creating a living trust is probate avoidance for your surviving family members, but can also benefit you in other ways, such as:

  • Eliminating the need for guardianship when you are incapacitated
  • Keeping your estate completely private
  • Holding and managing assets for minor children and/or loved ones with special needs
  • Making contestation more difficult

If you are thinking about creating a living trust, schedule a free consultation with our experienced attorney. We will help you determine the best route for you and your estate. 

Don’t leave your family’s future and your assets to chance after you are gone. Make an estate plan today to give you and your loved ones peace of mind. Call our office today.

Estate Planning Attorney Serving Carpinteria, California

Are you ready to take charge of your future? Meeting with an estate planning attorney can help you put everything in order so you can protect your assets and your loved ones when you’re gone. We know you want to do everything you can to make sure your family is taken care of, so meet with us today. Call now.