As Benjamin Franklin famously remarked, the only certainties in this world are “death and taxes.” While we all know that death is an inevitable part of the cycle of life, most of us would prefer to avoid the subject altogether. However, failing to engage in any sort of pre-planning for your estate, financial, and health affairs can impose unnecessary financial and emotional strain on your loved ones.

According to World Population Review, an independent organization that compiles and tracks demographic information, the average cost of a funeral service in California is $11,777.00. On top of funeral expenses, many individuals pass away leaving sizeable unpaid medical bills and other debts. For those individuals who fail to establish an estate plan or designate beneficiaries on their accounts, their loved ones may have difficulty gaining access to assets to cover these costs, leaving them to initially bear the brunt of the financial burden.

Additionally, probate expenses in California regularly average in the five figures, the bulk of which stem from statutory fees and court costs. Probate is also a time-consuming process, with the average probate proceeding in California taking between 12-18 months to settle. The combined costs and delays can oftentimes compound the grieving process and put a strain on familial relationships.

While death is always a difficult process to deal with, you can significantly alleviate the burden on your loved ones, by engaging in the proper planning. Establishing a comprehensive estate plan is one of the most important steps you can take to protect the people you care about after you are gone.

Allyson S. Heller is a licensed attorney at the Law Offices of Tony J. Tyre, ESQ, APC. For more information, please contact our office at (626) 858-9378, or