The reality is that we should all have an estate plan in place. Such plans are not reserved for seniors, the “wealthy,” or those people with a variety of assets. A carefully created estate plan can benefit almost everybody, and yours should include six important documents.
What is Estate Planning to Begin With?
On the surface, estate planning is the process of designating who will receive your assets in the event of your death or incapacitation. Proper planning is needed to carry out your exact wishes. A skilled estate planning lawyer can help ensure that your estate plan performs such tasks as:
- Arranging for the care of your minor children and other dependents upon your death,
- Appointing others to manage your financial and medical matters in the event you’re unable to do so,
- Communicating your wishes to receive life-sustaining treatment if you become permanently unconscious or incapacitated,
- Avoiding uncertainties in a potential probate proceeding, and
- Minimizing estate tax liability.
What Documents Should My Estate Plan Include?
We advise clients that a well-crafted estate plan in Washington should include six essential documents. These are a:
- Last will and testament,
- Durable power of attorney (disability),
- Power of attorney for health care decisions and nomination of guardian,
- Authorization for disclosure of protected health information,
- Directive to physicians, and
- Community property agreement (for married couples).
While each of the above deserves an individual blog post to aptly describe the document’s purpose, we mention them collectively to help illustrate the point that an estate plan is so much more than a will. An effective plan is about a group of documents working in concert to communicate your wishes and protect your loved ones. That being said, some estate plans will require more and some less than what are listed. Each estate plan is unique and custom made to each client.
Can an Estate Planning Lawyer Help?
Yes. There are several companies today that offer a variety of templates or forms to help meet your estate planning needs. These are essentially fill in the blank documents that do not consider your particular situation, family, assets, healthcare wishes, etc.
Every estate is different. Each one is unique. Fill in the blank documents are simply not flexible enough to take into account your personal affairs.
As a result, a skilled and experienced estate planning attorney is better equipped to create a plan that is right for you. A lawyer is not like a template. An attorney can actually listen to your wishes and put together an estate plan that effectively communicates your specific wishes.
Further Questions? Please Contact the Law Office of Kevin D. Anderson today!
Kevin has been helping clients create effective and reliable estate plans for years. We are equipped to review your existing plan, or we can create a new one for you. Either way, our wishes are simple…to best protect you, your family and loved ones, and your legacy. Please contact us today to get the legal help you deserve!