In Staunton, Virginia, estate planning is the process of deciding 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 guarantee 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 various other elements which you may want to include, depending on your goals, and your financial situation.
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.
If you have young children, it is absolutely crucial that you make arrangements for their care, as well as their custody. Obviously, if you want someone specific to take custody of them in the event something happens, you need to discuss the matter with them, to ensure that they are actually able and willing to care for them.
What Type of Estate Plan Do I Need in Staunton, Virginia?
The answer to this question varies on your individual needs, your priorities, your health, and the size and nature of your estate.
For instance, if you are in your 20's and unmarried, an estate plan likely does not need to be on your priorities, unless you are very ill, or independently wealthy.
There is one group of unmarried people for whom estate planning in Staunton, Virginia is absolutely necessary: 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 various steps to secure these rights, such as authorizing power of attorney, and writing them into your will.
There is another considerable group of people who would benefit from having a good Staunton, 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 includes facing some uncomfortable realities, it is important and unavoidable.
Do I Need a Staunton, Virginia Estate Planning Attorney?
Because estate planning in Staunton, Virginia can involve some complicated legal and financial issues, it is necessary to undertake this task with the guidance of an experienced attorney who specializes in estate planning.