In Alexandria, Virginia, estate planning is the process of determining what you want done with your property after your death (which is, of course, a very personal decision), and then setting up the legal and financial arrangements to ensure that your wishes are carried out.
While the drafting of a will (the document that dictates what is to be done with the decedent's property after death) is typically the central component of any estate plan, there are many other elements which you may want to include, depending on your goals, and your financial situation.
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 identified 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 Alexandria, Virginia?
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.
For instance, 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 Alexandria, Virginia, but aren't married to him or her, estate planning is necessary. If you want your partner to have most of the same rights and responsibilities as a spouse, it's typically possible with good estate planning. You should grant your partner power of attorney, so they can make arrangements for you in case you become incapacitated. Moreover, 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.
If you are elderly, and have a considerable amount of assets in Alexandria, Virginia, estate planning may be more essential 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 Alexandria, Virginia Estate Planning Attorney?
Because estate planning in Alexandria, Virginia is not always simple, the assistance of a knowledgeable attorney will almost certainly be useful, and worth the cost. This is doubly true because of how important the issues involved can be, and the fact that a relatively minor mistake can sometimes derail an entire estate plan.