Creating a will is one element of estate planning in California, but there are a number of other tasks involved as well. When you are as thorough as possible, this can take a lot of the pressure and difficulty away from your loved ones. Working through a checklist can help you ensure that you have done everything that is necessary.
You need to start by making lists of all your assets, from furniture, power tools and personal items to various accounts. You need to list your debts as well. You should also create a list of any organizations that you are a member of. Be sure that you do not neglect digital assets, including various social media and email accounts. Check the terms of services on your digital accounts to make sure you understand what steps you need to take to allow someone else to manage them for you.
Your will and other documents
You should also look over your retirement accounts, life insurance, and any other assets that are passed by beneficiary designations and ensure that they are up to date. You may want to work with an attorney to create a will and possibly one or more trusts depending on your needs. The executor whom you appoint in your will is responsible for administering your estate. You may also want to create powers of attorney for your finances and health care. These documents appoint people to manage those aspects of your life in case you are unable to. A living will explains your wishes for medical care.
You should review your documents regularly to make sure they remain up to date. You might also want to talk to your family about what is in them. When they know what to expect from the estate plan and your rationale, it may reduce or eliminate any conflict.