One reason many California residents put off estate planning is that they worry about creating an overly rigid plan. In the modern world of the 21st century, people want the flexibility to make changes as the need arises.
Contrary to popular belief, you can make your estate plan reasonably flexible. The first thing you should do is to learn about California laws governing trusts, wills and other estate tools. Once you know what is and is not allowed, you can begin filling your estate plan with tools to protect your assets and family.
Why do you need flexibility?
Estate tax laws can change abruptly, property values can fluctuate and your needs can shift, depending on what is happening in your life. These issues (and many others) can make what was once a solid estate plan obsolete.
For example, say you originally planned not to have children but have recently reconsidered and are now expecting a baby. If your estate plan is too rigid, you might not be able to change its contents to accommodate the current and future needs of the child. Flexibility from the outset of estate planning ensures the ability to modify your plan as necessary without losing the financial protections you desire.
How can you achieve a flexible plan?
One way to increase flexibility in your estate plan is to add a discretionary trust. With this document, your chosen trustee will have the power to distribute assets as needed. That means your beneficiaries cannot withdraw funds on a whim, which is an effective (and flexible) way of ensuring that your heirs do not overspend their inheritance. A discretionary trust is just one of several ways to achieve flexibility.
To improve the flexibility of your current plan, increase your knowledge of estate planning in general. It is also wise to consider the many advantages that come with including trusts, powers of attorney and other estate documents in your plan.