In Bristol, 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 normally the central component of any estate plan, there are several 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 recognized 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 Bristol, Virginia?
Obviously, the answer to this depends on many factors, as well as your goals and preferences. However, most people, when deciding what type of estate plan they need, consider their health, age, and wealth.
If you are in good health, young, and not married, planning an estate is probably not a high priority. And at this point in your life, it doesn't really have to be, with a few possible exceptions, such as individuals who work in very dangerous jobs, or who are very wealthy.
Individuals who are, for different possible reasons, unwilling or unable to get married, but are in committed, lifelong relationships, are perhaps most in need of a good Bristol, Virginia 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.
There is another massive group of people who would benefit from having a good Bristol, Virginia 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 contains facing some uncomfortable realities, it is crucial and unavoidable.
Do I Need a Bristol, Virginia Estate Planning Attorney?
Because estate planning in Bristol, Virginia is not always simple, the assistance of a brilliant attorney will almost certainly be useful, and worth the cost. This is doubly true because of how crucial the issues involved can be, and the fact that a relatively minor mistake can sometimes derail an entire estate plan.