Certified Specialist-Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law (State Bar of California)
The process of creating a plan for the management of a person's estate when that person is unable to participate in the management of his/her own estate. Estate planning is typically thought of as relating to the distribution of assets after the property owner's death to the intended beneficiaries, which should take into account the goals of the property owner and the particular needs/circumstances of the intended beneficiaries. The goal of this aspect of estate planning is to create a plan for distribution of assets that provides peace of mind to the property owner and eases the burden somewhat of dealing with the death of a loved one for those who must carry out the distribution of assets according to the property owner's wishes. Good estate planning also includes planning for potential incapacity, temporary or long term, due to injury or illness. If a person should become incapable of making necessary decisions regarding his/her finances or health care, a named agent can step in and make authorized decisions on behalf of the incapacitated person during the period of incapacity when powers of attorney have been executed. Without these important documents, someone must petition the Court to gain the authority to make decisions for the incapacitated person. This is called conservatorship and can be an expensive and time-consuming process.
The process of transferring assets after the property owner's death to the people or entities entitled to receive those assets.
The Court proceeding which supervises the transfer of assets to the deceased person's heirs according to the terms of a valid Will or according to the laws of succession for those persons who die without a valid Will.
The Court proceeding for the appointment of person given the legal responsibility to make decisions for another adult who does not have or has lost the capacity to make their own decisions regarding personal care and finances due to injury, illness or disability.
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