In Whatcom County, 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 Whatcom County, 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.
Individuals who are, for varied possible reasons, unwilling or unable to get married, but are in committed, lifelong relationships, are perhaps most in need of a good Whatcom County, Washington estate plan. Because couples who aren't married don't automatically get any of the legal rights (such as hospital visitation, inheritance rights, and power of attorney) that come with marriage, they have to secure these rights through other means, such as wills and power of attorney agreements.
There is another considerable group of people who would benefit from having a good Whatcom County, 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 includes facing some uncomfortable realities, it is crucial and unavoidable.
Do I Need a Whatcom County, Washington Estate Planning Attorney?
Because estate planning in Whatcom County, Washington can involve some confusing legal and financial issues, it is necessary to undertake this task with the guidance of an experienced attorney who specializes in estate planning.