In Washougal, 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 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 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.
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 actually take on such responsibility.
What Type of Estate Plan Do I Need in Washougal, Washington?
Obviously, this depends on your needs, which you will have to figure out for yourself. Some basic considerations in making this decision, however, are your health, age, and the amount of assets involved.
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.
If you have a life partner in Washougal, Washington, but aren't married to him or her, estate planning is crucial. If you want your partner to have most of the same rights and responsibilities as a spouse, it's usually possible with good estate planning. You should grant your partner power of attorney, so they can make decisions for you in case you become incapacitated. Furthermore, you should name your partner as a beneficiary in your will, because, unlike a spouse, a life partner will not automatically inherit your property if you die without a will.
If you are very old, and have a considerable estate in Washougal, Washington, you should definitely come up with an estate plan if you haven't already. Admittedly, this involves confronting some unpleasant and morbid subjects, but it is still very essential. Estate planning is essential if you care at all what happens to your property, and, more importantly, your loved ones, after you die.
Do I Need a Washougal, Washington Estate Planning Attorney?
Because estate planning can be a perplexing process, the expertise of a good lawyer in Washougal, Washington who specializes in wills, trusts, and estates can make the process a great deal easier.