Estate planning is a very broad term in Washington, Pennsylvania, referring to a person's arrangements on issues that affect them and their family toward the end of their life. These might contain instructions for end-of-life care, as well as drafting a will or other document with the intent of disposing of one's property after their death.
The drafting of a will, which simply states what you wish to be done with your property after death, is typically one of the most necessary parts of an estate plan. Of course, it's rarely the only one. There are many other things you might want to include, depending on your objectives.
For instance, a reliable estate plan will include a living will, which gives your family members and healthcare professionals instructions about your medical care, to be followed in the event you become incapacitated. You should also include your funeral arrangements, and your preference with respect to organ donation.
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 Washington, Pennsylvania?
This typically depends on your individual goals and priorities, your age, health, and the nature and quantity of your assets.
If you are in good health, young, and not married, planning an estate is likely not a high priority. And at this time in your life, it doesn't really have to be, with a few possible exceptions, such as individuals who work in very hazardous jobs, or who are very wealthy.
Individuals who are, for varied possible reasons, unwilling or unable to get married, but are in committed, lifelong relationships, are perhaps most in need of a good Washington, Pennsylvania estate plan. Because couples who aren't married don't automatically get any of the legal rights (such as hospital visitation, inheritance rights, and power of attorney) that come with marriage, they have to secure these rights through other means, such as wills and power of attorney agreements.
If you are elderly, and have a considerable amount of assets in Washington, Pennsylvania, estate planning may be more necessary at this stage of your life than any other. While estate planning deals with some morbid and unpleasant subjects (requiring us to confront the reality of our own mortality), it is necessary if you wish to live your life secure in the knowledge that your loved ones will be provided for to the extent that your assets allow.
Do I Need a Washington, Pennsylvania Estate Planning Attorney?
Because estate planning in Washington, Pennsylvania is not always simple, the assistance of a reliable attorney will almost certainly be useful, and worth the cost. This is doubly true because of how essential the issues involved can be, and the fact that a relatively minor mistake can sometimes derail an entire estate plan.