In Newcastle, Washington, 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 usually 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 will is rarely the only aspect of a comprehensive estate plan. Most people have very strong preferences about their end-of-life care, especially 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. Additionally, preferences on organ donation and funeral arrangements should also be made clear.
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 Newcastle, Washington?
Obviously, this depends on your needs, which you will have to figure out for yourself. Some typical considerations in making this decision, however, are your health, age, and the amount of assets involved.
For example, if you are in your 20's and unmarried, an estate plan probably 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 Newcastle, Washington is absolutely crucial: 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 several steps to secure these rights, such as granting power of attorney, and writing them into your will.
There is another large group of people who would benefit from having a good Newcastle, 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 necessary and unavoidable.
Do I Need a Newcastle, Washington Estate Planning Attorney?
Estate planning in Newcastle, Washington is not always perplexing, 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.