From the Desk of Darlynn Morgan, Wills Lawyer Orange County

I’m often asked, what is estate planning? Let me share with you, first, what estate planning is not.

Estate planning is not about getting a set of documents prepared. Many people think that they can simply get a will, a trust or powers of attorney prepared and then they are covered if they become incapacitated or die.

They feel secure thinking, ‘now there won’t a probate’ and that everything is all taken care of, but this is a huge misconception.


Well, first, just having a set of documents with your name on it is not going to avoid probate. There is more to it than that.

Essentially, estate planning means taking the time to carefully think through, and plan for, what would specifically happen to your money, your spouse, your kids, your assets, your wishes, your legacy etc. if something happened to you.

It’s also about making sure you are getting the legal guidance you need so you can make the very best legal and financial decisions through every stage of life.

Finally, it’s about forming a long-term relationship with a lawyer so you can make sure your estate plan stays updated (and hence valid!) as your life and the law changes through the years.

But of course, receiving that guidance starts by finding, and forming a relationship with a lawyer who is committed to serving you and your family for life.

You also want that lawyer to take you by the hand and walk you through what I like to call a Family Wealth Planning Session so you know exactly what would happen to your kids, your spouse, your assets and your wishes if something tragic happened to you right now.

Then together you and your trusted attorney will create a specific plan (as opposed to the generic plans you can get online that leave families in a lurch when they need it the most) to ensure someone can make important medical and financial decisions for you if you are injured, your assets stay protected and your children will be cared for by the people you want, in a way you want should the unthinkable happen.

Remember, the state has a plan for you, and you need to know what that is. Once you are informed, then you can decide if you like what would currently happen. If you don’t like what would happen, then your lawyer can make recommendations as to what your next step should be in order to accomplish your objectives.

But again, it all starts with the Family Wealth Planning Session.  Readers of our blog can take book one of these exclusive sessions (normally $750) for free by calling (949) 260-1400 and mentioning this article.  However, these appointments with me, a wills lawyer Orange County, are limited to 10 per month so claim your spot today!