There is a common misconception that estate planning is only for those who are sick, old, or wealthy. This is far from the truth. In fact, estate planning should be actively sought and formalized by any individual who has specific wishes in the distribution of their estate to include your property, your loans, your savings account, your retirement plans, and/or more.
Should you experience incapacitation or an early passing, working with a professional attorney to clearly define your wishes is a definitive way to secure your family’s financial well-being. Estate planning gives your loved ones a clear role to play, as well as directions for possible health concerns and distribution of assets. To best understand the specifics of how an Alexandria, VA estate planning lawyer can help you today, call one of the dedicated Alexandria estate planning attorneys from Hughes Legacy Law PLLC.
Why Is Estate Planning Important?
Tackling your own mortality is a deeply avoided subject, but one that is as important as it is difficult. Hughes Legacy Law PLLC has years of practicing compassionate and informed estate planning drafting. We can help ease the conversation on subjects ranging from incapacitation to end of life care. Conquering these topics early only paves the way for an easier future. Additionally, with a professionally drafted estate plan, you are allowing the following to occur:
Avoid Long Probate Period
When you pass away without any proper documentation on how to specifically divide and distribute your assets, you are said to have died “intestate.” This effectively allows the state of where you live at the time of your death to determine your heirs, who receives your property and how they receive it. This timeframe after your intestate death is known as the probate period. The probate period is based on the laws put forth by the applicable state and can take anywhere from six months to two years of waiting time. The Commonwealth of Virginia’s current order of intestate succession follows a traditional method, meaning assets will be inherited by your legal spouse, children, parents, or siblings. Friends, long-standing partners, and charities will be excluded.
Dying testate, or with a valid Last Will and Testament, will still require your surviving family members to navigate a probate period, but it will not be as long or as full of uncertainty. Hughes Legacy Law PLLC will work diligently to ensure your documentation follows all current state and federal laws, as well as your wishes. This leaves your distribution wishes defensible and without room for interpretation.
Respects Your Wishes
There is an option to download an estate planning document online, which can act as a quick and easy way to get your wishes down on paper. However, we find that the fill-in-the-blank genericism of the documents does not properly allow you to personalize your desires for the future. These pre-planned documents cannot respect your wishes and the diversity of your family in the same regard a professional estate attorney can and, therefore, will have a harder time holding up over time. Finally, ambiguity fosters litigation and our experienced Alexandria estate planning lawyers can point out any ambiguous points in your documents and suggest ways to make them crystal clear so that your wishes are carried out efficiently.
Hughes Legacy Law PLLC understands the inherent nature of life happens and circumstances will change as you grow. Your documents will be updated accordingly every few years as you experience life-changing events, such as marriage, divorce, and the birth of new children or grandchildren. These frequent updates are also conducted to adhere to the current state and federal laws.
What Are the Different Components of Estate Planning?
Many different documents can make up your personalized estate plan. Your attorney will help advise you on what may be needed for your family’s future living situation. In their simplest forms, common components that make up a typical estate plan include:
- Will and Testament: This is the division of your goods and can be as specific or general as you want it to be. Having a valid Will is vital to the succession of your inheritance clearly to your surviving family.
- Medical Power of Attorney: In the event you are incapacitated, whether it be from disease or an accident, you will need a medical power of attorney to temporarily make your major healthcare decisions. This is a big responsibility, and it is important you discuss this in advance to ensure this person is fully comfortable and aware of the responsibilities.
- Beneficiaries: For many, their beneficiaries are their surviving children, spouse/partner, and/or grandchildren. However, it is completely up to you how you want to divide your estate. Close friends, neighbors, and former partners are all viable options, if that is what you wish. If you would like to include a charity or nonprofit organization in your beneficiaries list, your Alexandria, VA estate planning attorney can help set that up.
Every family is unique and will require different documents. Though cost-effective and quick, the fill-in-the-blank paperwork you download from the internet is not guaranteed to meet the specific, personalized requirements of your estate plan. Hughes Legacy Law PLLC can help with even the most complex and unique of documents, like special needs trusts, guardianships, conservatorships, and more.
Get Professional Assistance Today With Hughes Legacy Law PLLC
Make the best decision for your family’s future by partnering with Hughes Legacy Law PLLC today. Our team of Alexandria estate planning lawyers has devoted their careers to planning administrative strategies for your surviving family when they need it the most. All of our plans are personalized and professionally drafted by dedicated and caring attorneys. We are ready to help you, no matter the circumstance.