Wills, Living Wills, and Powers of Attorney
A will is a formal written legal document that sets forth how you would like your estate handled after you are gone. It can also specify guardians to take care of your minor children, establish or fund trusts on your children’s behalf, and reduce or eliminate some taxes.
Having proper estate planning documents in place can help protect your family’s future and your legacy. Contact our Virginia estate planning attorney online or call 804-935-8510 to schedule an appointment to discuss your situation. We help individuals, families and family trusts, charitable organizations, and small and family owned businesses in Virginia, Maryland, Washington D.C., and Florida.
Everyone Should Have a Will
Whether you are married, single, young, old, have minor children or own even a nominal amount of assets or property, you should have a will. In fact, every eligible adult should have an estate plan in place to control the disposition of his or her assets. Even people who have living trusts should also have a will. Without a will, any property that is not held in the trust will be distributed according to state law, which may not be in accordance with your wishes or intended estate plan, and will likely be more costly.
Your will can name who you wish to receive most of your property. However, there could be certain assets that you own that may pass outside of your will by way of beneficiary designation, including retirement plans, life insurance, bank accounts and other property that is subject to a contract. You may also own property that will automatically pass to another regardless of your will. It is important to understand your arrangements and how your property will transfer even if you have a will. Our attorney can review your situation and help you plan to achieve your intentions by drafting the proper legal documents you need and also give you legal advice about things you may not have considered but that are important to know about. These include how the title to your property can affect your estate plan.
Ensure Your Estate Plan is Kept Up to Date
Your will and all trusts, and your whole estate plan, should be reviewed periodically by a lawyer. These should also be reviewed whenever there is a significant change in your financial or family situation. Even if most of the property owned by you and your spouse is held “with the right of survivorship,” a will can address the possibility of simultaneous deaths, or the distribution of the joint estate upon the death of the survivor.
Powers of Attorney and “Living Wills”
A will (and often also a trust) can provide for the management and ultimate distribution of your property upon your death. However, a will does not address the potential need for property management during your lifetime should you ever become physically or mentally incapacitated. As part of even a simple estate plan, it is important to discuss the uses and types of powers of attorney with your lawyer. It is important that living trusts be properly funded in case of disability or death. Also, many people are opposed to being kept alive by artificial means following an accident or serious illness, but are unaware of laws that grant them the right to die naturally in accordance with the terms of “living wills.” You can sign a written declaration expressing your desire that your life not be artificially prolonged in the event of a terminal condition from which there is no or little hope of recovery. Our lawyer can explain these laws and how appropriate documents can help to ensure that your wishes are honored.
Contact Our Virginia Estate Planning Lawyer
It is never too early to begin thinking about yours and your family’s future, and planning for your financial wellbeing. Contact our Glen Allen wills attorney online or call 804-935-8510 to schedule a consultation. We help individuals, families and family trusts, charitable organizations, and small and family owned businesses in Virginia, Maryland, Washington D.C., and Florida.