In Council Bluffs, Iowa, "estate planning" refers to the process by which a person makes arrangements related to their property after their death. It can (and should) also include personal issues that might come up immediately before and after a person's death.
The creation of a will (the document laying out what is to be done with your property after your death) is an essential element of an estate plan, but it is normally not the only element. There are many other essential things that most estate plans should include.
A clear estate plan will also contain instructions to your doctors about your preferences for end of life care, in case you become unable to express them. This is recognized as a "living will." It should also include instructions about funeral arrangements and organ donation.
Crucially, your plan should make arrangements for the care and custody of your children, if they are minors. Nonetheless you should initially discuss this matter with the person who you intend to take custody of your children in case something happens to you, to make sure they are willing and able to do so.
What Type of Estate Plan Do I Need in Council Bluffs, Iowa?
The answer to this question varies on your individual needs, your priorities, your health, and the size and nature of your estate.
For instance, if you are in your 20's and unmarried, an estate plan likely does not need to be on your priorities, unless you are very ill, or independently wealthy.
There is one group of unmarried people for whom estate planning in Council Bluffs, Iowa is absolutely essential: adults who are not married, but have a life partner who they'd like to provide for in the event of death. There are many rights that automatically attach with marriage, such as the right to inherit if a spouse dies without a will, the right to make medical decisions for the other spouse if they become incapacitated, etc. If you and your partner are, for whatever reason, unable or unwilling to get married, you will have to take many steps to secure these rights, such as authorizing power of attorney, and writing them into your will.
There is another massive group of people who would benefit from having a good Council Bluffs, Iowa estate plan: the elderly and those with a lot of money really need to consider making a comprehensive estate plan as soon as possible. While this necessarily contains facing some uncomfortable realities, it is essential and unavoidable.
Do I Need a Council Bluffs, Iowa Estate Planning Attorney?
Because estate planning can be a difficult process, the expertise of a good lawyer in Council Bluffs, Iowa who specializes in wills, trusts, and estates can make the process a great deal easier.