Although some people need more of it than others, just about every Washington resident can benefit from some basic estate planning.
While proper estate planning involves a number of steps that are usually accomplished with the help of an experienced attorney and other professionals, there are some basic estate planning documents with which people in Silverdale and the surrounding communities in Kitsap County should be familiar.
Even for people with trusts, a will is an important document to have
As most people recognize, a will describes to the probate court how a person wished her property to be divided upon her death.
The will is also a good opportunity for a parent with minor children to nominate a guardian for the children, assuming the other parent is not available.
Without a valid will, any assets in a person’s estate will be passed down according to Washington law.
There are other ways to pass property down to one’s loved ones. For example, trusts have enduring popularity.
Moreover, jointly held real estate, beneficiary accounts like a retirement plan or life insurance, are inherited according to the terms of the deed or document, not the will.
Even so, a will is a good idea if only to make sure that any overlooked assets get handed down as the deceased person wished.
Advanced planning documents are also key to a good estate plan
Estate planning is not simply about preparing for what happens after one dies. It is also a smart idea for a person to execute several advance planning documents, including a power of attorney and a healthcare directive.
These documents ensure that a trusted person has the legal authority to make important financial and healthcare should the person no longer be able to do so due to circumstances like age or illness.