In Tacoma, 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 typically the central component of any estate plan, there are numerous 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 persons have quite 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.
Most notably, an estate plan should give instructions on the care of your minor children. It should lay out who is to take custody of them, and, if possible, leave them a large sum of money to assist with this care. Of course, you should discuss this matter with the people who you want to take custody of your children, to make sure they can truly take on such responsibility.
What Type of Estate Plan Do I Need in Tacoma, Washington?
The answer to this question varies largely on your goals and priorities, as well as your age, health, and the amount of assets you have.
If you are in good health, young, and not married, planning an estate is likely not a high priority. And at this time in your life, it doesn't really have to be, with a few possible exceptions, such as individuals who work in very hazardous jobs, or who are very wealthy.
There is one group of unmarried people for whom estate planning in Tacoma, Washington 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.
Individuals who are elderly and/or have a considerable amount of money in Tacoma, Washington are probably more in need of an estate plan than almost anyone else. Most people place a lot of value in the peace of mind that comes when they know that the people they love, or the causes they care about, will be taken care of after their death. Of course, nobody likes to confront the facts that this process always includes, but it's crucial.
Do I Need a Tacoma, Washington Estate Planning Attorney?
In Tacoma, Washington, estate planning is rarely simple, even if it's not the most confusing thing in the world. Given the importance of what's at stake (the financial security of your loved ones), a good estate plan is essential, as is the help of an attorney who specializes in wills, trusts, and estates law.