In Linn County, 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 usually not the only element. There are many other essential things that most estate plans should include.
Besides a will, a quality estate plan will contain a living will, which gives your doctors and relatives directions regarding your healthcare in the event that you become incapacitated, funeral arrangements, and instructions on organ donations.
Perhaps most notably, your estate plan should make arrangements for the care and custody of your minor children, if you have any. Of course, you should discuss this matter with the person you intend to take custody of the children beforehand, to ensure that they are able and willing to provide proper care.
What Type of Estate Plan Do I Need in Linn County, Iowa?
Obviously, this depends on your needs, which you will have to figure out for yourself. Some basic considerations in making this decision, however, are your health, age, and the amount of assets involved.
For example, if you're unmarried, and in your early 20's, estate planning is probably not the most essential thing in your life. However, if you're seriously ill, and/or unusually wealthy, estate planning might be a priority for you.
If you have a life partner in Linn County, Iowa, but aren't married to him or her, estate planning is crucial. If you want your partner to have most of the same rights and responsibilities as a spouse, it's usually possible with good estate planning. You should grant your partner power of attorney, so they can make decisions for you in case you become incapacitated. Furthermore, you should name your partner as a beneficiary in your will, because, unlike a spouse, a life partner will not automatically inherit your property if you die without a will.
Other groups for whom estate planning is very essential in Linn County, Iowa are people who are elderly and/or have a lot of assets. This may be the time in one's life where estate planning is most essential. 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 very important if you value the security that comes with the knowledge that your family will be provided for.
Do I Need a Linn County, Iowa Estate Planning Attorney?
Because estate planning can be a perplexing process, the expertise of a good lawyer in Linn County, Iowa who specializes in wills, trusts, and estates can make the process a great deal easier.