You should feel really proud of yourself if you have done your estate plan. You made it easier for your family to care for you if you become incapacitated, and you have avoided the probate process at your death by creating a living trust. Did you finish your estate planning homework? Did you actually fund your trust?
You finally committed to making an estate plan, and now you are in possession of a big binder or envelope full of your original documents. Now, the question is where to put it, or if you created your documents many years ago, do you know where they are? Here are some tips to keep these documents organized, handy, and safe.
A holographic will is a handwritten will (no typing on the computer) that is valid in California if it meets certain requirements identified at California Probate Code §§6110-6111. Although it seems cost-effective to be able to simply jot down your final wishes next to that crossword puzzle you were trying to finish, there are potentially some major pitfalls.
When you are healthy and independent, it can be hard to imagine a life where you cannot make decisions for yourself. Change, however, can happen suddenly and it is important that you empower your family to speak for you if you have an accident or a serious illness. Talking with your loved ones now and proactively planning for the future is the best way to ensure that your desires will be respected.
As a caregiver, you take on the emotional struggles of day-to-day life, but you must also deal with the practical, everyday tasks of making sure everything is up and running. If your loved one cannot provide for his or her own personal needs (e.g., dressing, bathing, clothing, medication management) or manage his own financial resources (e.g., pay bills, manage a checkbook), then as a caregiver, you become responsible for all of these tasks.
If you become unable to manage your assets due to health reasons, you can voluntarily resign or be removed as trustee by a doctor’s note. Who can you lean on to help you?