In Decorah, 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 encompass 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 usually not the only element. There are many other important things that most estate plans should include.
A solid estate plan will also include instructions to your doctors about your preferences for end of life care, in case you become unable to express them. This is known 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. However you should first 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 Decorah, Iowa?
The answer to this question depends on your individual needs, your priorities, your health, and the size and nature of your estate.
For instance, if you're unmarried, and in your early 20's, estate planning is probably not the most important thing in your life. However, if you're seriously ill, and/or unusually wealthy, estate planning might be a priority for you.
If you are unmarried, but have a life partner in Decorah, Iowa, estate planning is crucial, if you wish for your life partner to be treated as if he or she were your spouse (to the extent possible). In such a situation, the estate plan should make arrangements to give your life partner power of attorney in case you become incapacitated. Your will should also clearly include your partner (if you wish for them to inherit any of your assets).
Other groups for whom estate planning is very important in Decorah, Iowa are people who are elderly and/or have a lot of assets. This may be the point in one's life where estate planning is most important. While it's true that the process of making an estate plan requires a person to deal directly with the reality of their own mortality, it is extremely important if you value the security that comes with the knowledge that your family will be provided for.
Do I Need a Decorah, Iowa Estate Planning Attorney?
Because estate planning can be a complicated process, the expertise of a good lawyer in Decorah, Iowa who specializes in wills, trusts, and estates can make the process a great deal easier.