In Des Moines, Washington, 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 usually 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.
A will is rarely the only aspect of a comprehensive estate plan. Most people have very strong preferences about their end-of-life care, particularly when, and under what circumstances, they would want to be taken off life support, if that every happens. These wishes should be made in writing, and discussed with family. Furthermore, preferences on organ donation and funeral arrangements should also be made clear.
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 Des Moines, Washington?
This usually depends on your individual goals and priorities, your age, health, and the nature and quantity of your assets.
For example, if you're unmarried, and in your early 20's, estate planning is probably not the most important thing in your life. However, if you're seriously ill, and/or unusually wealthy, estate planning might be a priority for you.
If you are unmarried, but have a life partner in Des Moines, Washington, estate planning is crucial, if you wish for your life partner to be treated as if he or she were your spouse (to the extent possible). In such a case, the estate plan should make arrangements to give your life partner power of attorney in case you become incapacitated. Your will should also precisely include your partner (if you wish for them to inherit any of your assets).
There is another large group of people who would benefit from having a good Des Moines, Washington 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 involves facing some uncomfortable realities, it is important and unavoidable.
Do I Need a Des Moines, Washington Estate Planning Attorney?
Estate planning in Des Moines, Washington is not always complicated, but it certainly can be. In moderately-sized to large estates, with a significant number of potential beneficiaries, it is crucial to have the assistance of an estate planning professional.