An estate plan can help a person account for an illness or other event that could leave that individual incapacitated. It can also help a person in California or anywhere else account for what happens to assets after he or she passes. The first thing an individual should do when creating an estate plan is gather an inventory of physical and financial assets. This could include a mortgage statement, bank statement or anything else that helps a person determine his or her net worth.

From there, it may be possible to create a strategy that can keep those assets out of a creditor’s hands in the future. Those who are creating estate plans should also account for any taxable events that could occur when an item is gifted or handed down. Finally, knowing how much money a person has can make it possible to ascertain if surviving family members will be all right financially after the testator passes.

It is important to consider the extent to which a person would want to be treated for a terminal illness or other health condition. Furthermore, an estate plan should appoint someone to oversee a person’s financial or medical needs if necessary. Making a plan as soon as possible provides time to make decisions in an objective manner as opposed to out of panic.

There are many estate planning tools that an individual may want to make use of. Examples of these tools include a will, trust and power of attorney. An attorney may assist an individual in creating or reviewing these documents as necessary. Attorneys may provide advice as to how a will or trust should be structured or what makes it valid. Generally, wills must be signed by at least two witnesses who are not listed as beneficiaries.