I am vacationing next week and do not have the time to meet an attorney first. I want to have something in writing before I leave, just in case. I can’t sleep over this. Suggestions?
– Busy Packing on Braeburn Way
Dear Busy Packing on Braeburn Way:
We have all been in your shoes. It is good to have your estate planning wishes on paper – words “in the air” are not good enough. The do-it-yourself suggestions that I make below are no substitute for meeting with counsel and getting good advice. However, you should have some estate plan before a vacation or surgery, even if it is basic.
California has a Statutory Will – this is a “fill in the blank” style Will. The Legislature provides this so that everybody can have access to a basic Will in case of death. You can Google for it. Carefully follow requirements. This Will won’t avoid probate court, but at least you can put your thoughts on paper. For a link to the Statutory Will, click here .
California also has both a Statutory Power of Attorney for Finances and a Statutory Health Care Directive in case of your incapacity. These are basic documents, but do allow an Agent to manage your finances and health if you cannot. These forms, all available free on-line, are no substitute for longer forms drawn up by an attorney, but do work. For a link to the Statutory Power of Attorney, click here and for a link to the California Advanced Health Care Directive, click here .
Once you are back, build on the basics and get advice from counsel. Your future heirs will thank you. Bon voyage!
In this video I talk about “Last Minute Estate Planning? – This Is What You Can Do“.