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Are you determined to complete your estate planning this year? If so, you may find the following general information on how the estate planning process works helpful:

First, you need to gather together your information. This includes all of your financial information, and a brief family history — your parents, siblings, and children.

You also need to list your real estate, including your home, your bank accounts, retirement accounts, including retirement accounts you have at work, and life insurance, both individually and through work.

Second, you need to sketch out your wishes for your estate plan. Are your children (or other beneficiaries) going to each receive equal shares of your estate? Or will a child who needs more receive more? Will a child who sacrificed to care for you be given a larger share to compensate for their sacrifices?

Will a close friend receive a gift of a specific dollar amount and the children then receive percentage shares? Will the children, if they are grown, receive specific dollar amounts, and the balance be given to one or more charities?

If a child dies before you, will their spouse (your in-law) be included in the estate plan? What about if your child does not have children? Or will in-laws be excluded under all circumstances?

If your children are grown and self-supporting, is some of your money better spent helping out society at large through charitable gifts?

Should you consider gifts to your children in trust? Letting your children inherit in trust, rather than outright, has tremendous benefits, even if it sounds complex. Your children can still manage their own inheritance, just with the significant benefits of a trust. Virtually every wealthy family gives their wealth to their children in trust.

Third, you need to decide who will enforce your plan as executor, trustee or agent. Other than deciding to create an estate plan, this is your most important choice. Not only will these people enforce your wishes after you are gone, but also they will also take care of you, invest your money, and pay your bills while you are alive and unable to do these things yourself.

The Flanigan Law Group provides Southern California residents with personal attention for estate planning, administration and litigation legal services. When disputes between families, arise, they are very successful in resolving legal estate issues quickly and efficiently while preserving financial and emotional resources. Contact the Estate Planning Lawyers at the Flanigan Law Group at 949-450-0041.