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Estate Planning Archives

What is a living will in Washington state?

Many residents of Vancouver have heard the term "living will" without fully understanding its meaning. With the many advances in medical treatment that allow physicians to extend the life of patients who are suffering from severely disabling or potentially fatal illnesses and injuries, the medical and legal communities have recognized the need for legally enforceable agreements that allow persons other than the patient to make certain medical and financial decisions. Such a document is known as a "living will" but, in fact, a living will is really two documents.

Who needs an estate plan?

The death of a public figure or wealthy celebrity can bring into focus the true need that many people have for creating solid, legally enforceable estate plans. The news abounds with stories of individuals who failed to create wills that outlined their testamentary desires or that failed to provide clarity on delicate preferences on inheritance. Despite the cautionary tales that Washington residents may read in the local newspaper about failing to have estate plans in place, many people feel as though estate plans are just not relevant to their lives.

Washington's requirements for a valid will

Having a valid will can be an important part of ensuring that a Vancouver resident's estate is distributed according to their wishes upon their death. However, a will is more than just a list of assets. Individuals who wish to execute wills and to have them considered valid must follow the laws of the state to ensure they are done correctly.

Understanding how a guardianship is used for adults

Most residents of Washington understand that a guardianship is used to protect the interests of a minor child whose parents are deceased or otherwise unable or unwilling to manage the child's affairs. In Washington, the term "guardianship" refers to both minors and adults who are placed under the care of another person. (A number of other states use the term "conservatorship" to distinguish between the two proceedings.) Establishing a guardianship can be an important estate planning or management tool for those with family members and close friends who are unable to manage their own affairs.

Should I have a living will?

Most Washingtonians understand the need for a testamentary will, i.e., a will that provides for the distribution of a person's property after death. But, very few understand the nature of a living will or the reasons why a person may wish to create one. Living wills are now regarded by most estate planning experts as an essential part of any estate plan.

You may not realize it but you likely have an estate

During the course of a Vancouver resident's life a person may acquire and divest themselves of different parcels of real property, items of personal property, or intangible assets such as bank accounts and investments. They may have periods of life in which they own many things and they may experience moments when their property and assets are minimal. However, at any given point in a person's life they likely own something and that with everything else they own is considered their estate.

What is a power of attorney in Washington estate planning?

Residents of Vancouver may have heard of a power of attorney, perhaps due to dealing with a relative's difficult medical or financial situation, or perhaps just in a general way. However, many people may not be clear on exactly how these documents are used, why they may be important, or what they need to contain. In estate planning circles, powers of attorney are a crucial tool in executing the intent of an individual.

What should a parenting plan cover?

Growing old is inevitable, and so is the fact that over time circumstances change. Some Washington residents may find themselves facing physical health issues and others might face cognitive health issues. Regardless of what they are going through, planning for the future, to tackle whatever issues one might face, is essential. There is a lot of uncertainty in the future, but it may be possible to shape it to achieve the goals you want, if you engage in timely estate planning.

Why choose an irrevocable trust?

Even when Washington residents finally accept the importance of timely estate planning to protect their loved one's future, they may become daunted by the complicated estate planning tools available for them to utilize. Between the different types of wills and trusts, drafting estate planning documents can become complicated and overwhelming. But, with a little clarity on what one hopes to achieve through estate planning, it may be possible to choose a correct tool.

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