In West Des Moines, 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 necessary things that most estate plans should include.
Besides a will, a quality estate plan will include a living will, which gives your doctors and relatives instructions concerning your healthcare in the event that you become incapacitated, funeral arrangements, and instructions on organ donations.
For anyone who has children who are still minors, it is very important to make arrangements for their custody and care, just in case the unthinkable happens. You should think of a family member or very 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 actually do it.
What Type of Estate Plan Do I Need in West Des Moines, Iowa?
The answer to this question depends largely on your goals and priorities, as well as your age, health, and the amount of assets you have.
Unmarried young adults generally don't think much about estate planning. In most cases, this is fine. Unless you are extremely 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 West Des Moines, Iowa is absolutely crucial: 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 several steps to secure these rights, such as granting power of attorney, and writing them into your will.
There is another large group of people who would benefit from having a good West Des Moines, 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 involves facing some uncomfortable realities, it is necessary and unavoidable.
Do I Need a West Des Moines, Iowa Estate Planning Attorney?
Estate planning in West Des Moines, Iowa is not always perplexing, but it certainly can be. In moderately-sized to large estates, with a significant number of potential beneficiaries, it is crucial to have the assistance of an estate planning professional.