Estate Planning Checklist for California Residents

In our California estate planning practice it doesn’t mean just one or two documents, it means a package of documents to protect you and your family.


Estate planning is a critical part of being a grown-up. Once you become an adult, you will need some level of estate planning documents.

How do you start, and get things ready to prepare your estate plan? Is there a checklist of documents you need to get ready to do your estate planning?

Most estate planning attorneys will require that you fill out their form and gather documents before they will meet with you. 

The documents they will ask for include:

  • Grant Deed to your home
  • Bank statements
  • Investment account statements
  • Retirement plan account statements
  • Life insurance policies
  • Social security numbers

At Clark Allison, we don’t need you to fill out a form or give us any of those documents. 

We have a very easy process that we have developed through 25+ years of helping our clients. All you need to do is schedule a Zoom meeting with one of our smart and friendly attorneys, and we will walk you through the rest. 

Estate planning does not have to be difficult, it can actually be a pleasant and easy experience. Most of our clients tell us they were pleasantly surprised at how we made the process comfortable and easy.

The term “Estate Plan” can mean many things to many people. In our California estate planning practice it doesn’t mean just one or two documents, it means a package of documents intended to protect you and your family.

What Is Included in an Estate Plan?

A basic estate plan for a California resident should include:

  • Will: A will is a legal document that specifies how you want to distribute your assets after you die. When you pass away, your estate goes through the probate process, and the probate court ensures that your executor distributes your assets per your will.
  • Durable Power of Attorney: Power of Attorney (POA) gives another person the ability to handle your finances and sign documents on your behalf in the event you become incapacitated.
  • Advance Health Care Directive and HIPAA: An Advance Healthcare Directive is a document that empowers you to appoint another person to give directives about your health.

If you own a home and/or other real property, you will also want a revocable living trust. If you have assets that would go through probate when you pass away - such as real property worth more than $50,000 and bank and investment accounts worth more than $166,250, then you will want to transfer those assets to revocable living trust so your family will not have to take your estate through probate.

What Does a California Revocable Living Trust Estate Plan Include?

A California Revocable Living Trust estate plan should include:

  • Revocable Living Trust
  • Schedule of  Trust Property
  • Certification of Trust
  • Pour-Over Will
  • Durable Power of Attorney
  • Advance Health Care Directive and HIPAA
  • Trust Transfer Deed and Preliminary Change in Ownership Report

If you are a California resident and you are ready to set up your estate plan, click here and one of our smart and friendly attorneys will reach out to you to help get it done in a simple and comfortable way.

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