Why This Year You Should Write a Will
By AnnMichelle G. Hart, Esq.
June 18, 2021
Estate planning is something many people don’t think about until they are in the late stages of life. In reality, everyone – regardless of age – should consider making an estate plan. Because life is full of unexpected events, it is best to have a plan in place if something terrible were to happen to you.
Hi – I’m Ann. I’m an Estate Planning attorney in Washington State.
You can find me at HartLawPLLCEstatePlan.com or at [email protected]
Estate Plans contain several key documents
The first, and most well-known, is a Will. Everyone, even young people, should create a will. It allows YOU to decide who receives your property when you die. Even if there isn’t a large amount of money in your car, house, your bank and investment accounts, someone still has to receive them, and it is best if you are able to decide who that person is, not the Court.
You need a Will if you are in a long-term and committed relationship but have not gotten married. Spouses by law receive your property after death, but if you aren’t married and have no will, even if you wanted to leave something to your long-term significant other, they would receive nothing under probate law. It would be up to the family to be gracious enough to give items to your significant other, and it may not be what you would have wanted them to have.
You also need a Will if you have children minor children. If you don’t, under the law, the court will choose a family member to become the guardian for your children. You will have no input in who takes care of your children.
Next are powers of attorney. You appoint someone to take care of your finances and/or your health care needs if you are no longer able to due to either physical or mental conditions. Powers of attorney allows someone you trust to take care of you when you are the most vulnerable. Without a one, the court will have to guess at who will best serve you.
Another good document to have is a healthcare directive that states your desires about life support, extraordinary measures, and how long you want those measures to be used on you prior to your eminent death. Having this will save your family and friends from guessing what you would want when those hard decisions have to be made. Take the stress and guesswork out of it.
There are a few more documents you may want to have in your estate plan. Call me – I’ll create a full customized estate plan where your goals are met and your family won’t have to go through a lengthy probate case.