In Burlington, Vermont, 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 many other elements which you may want to include, depending on your goals, and your financial situation.
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 essential to discuss this matter with that person before you really do it.
What Type of Estate Plan Do I Need in Burlington, Vermont?
Obviously, this depends on your needs, which you will have to figure out for yourself. Some general considerations in making this decision, however, are your health, age, and the amount of assets involved.
If you are young and unmarried, estate planning probably doesn't need to be on your radar, unless you are very ill, independently wealthy, or perhaps if you work in a very dangerous job, such as the military.
There is one group of unmarried people for whom estate planning in Burlington, Vermont is absolutely essential: 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 many steps to secure these rights, such as granting power of attorney, and writing them into your will.
Other groups for whom estate planning is very essential in Burlington, Vermont are people who are elderly and/or have a lot of assets. This may be the point in one's life where estate planning is most essential. While it's true that the process of making an estate plan requires a person to deal directly with the reality of their own mortality, it is extremely important if you value the security that comes with the knowledge that your family will be provided for.
Do I Need a Burlington, Vermont Estate Planning Attorney?
Because estate planning can be a convoluted process, the expertise of a good lawyer in Burlington, Vermont who specializes in wills, trusts, and estates can make the process a great deal easier.