In Hiawatha, 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 typically not the only element. There are many other necessary 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 identified as a "living will." It should also include instructions about funeral arrangements and organ donation.
For anyone who has children who are still minors, it is very essential to make arrangements for their custody and care, just in case the unthinkable occurs. You should think of a family member or extremely close friend who you know would be willing and able to take care of your children, and designate them as the person who would take custody. Of course, it's necessary to discuss this matter with that person before you truly do it.
What Type of Estate Plan Do I Need in Hiawatha, Iowa?
This typically depends on your individual goals and priorities, your age, health, and the nature and quantity of your assets.
Unmarried young adults usually don't think much about estate planning. In most cases, this is fine. Unless you are very sick or have an unusually large amount of assets, estate planning is not something to really worry about at this point in your life.
There is one group of unmarried people for whom estate planning in Hiawatha, Iowa is absolutely necessary: 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 various steps to secure these rights, such as authorizing power of attorney, and writing them into your will.
There is another considerable group of people who would benefit from having a good Hiawatha, 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 includes facing some uncomfortable realities, it is necessary and unavoidable.
Do I Need a Hiawatha, Iowa Estate Planning Attorney?
Because estate planning in Hiawatha, Iowa can involve some perplexing legal and financial issues, it is necessary to undertake this task with the guidance of an experienced attorney who specializes in estate planning.