WHEN SHOULD I CREATE AN ESTATE PLAN?

CowanGates | Estate Planning and Probate

If you are thinking about creating an estate plan in Virginia, it’s best to hire a knowledgeable estate planning attorney to draft the proper documents on your behalf.

Simply put, the sooner you act, the sooner you can relax. As we navigate through life, there are ultimately uncertainties we face, but it is best to have a plan that states how and to whom your assets will be distributed after your death. Keep in mind — everyone has an estate, whether big or small. For instance, your estate can include bank accounts, investments, homes, real estate, vehicles, life insurance, retirement accounts, furniture, and even clothing articles.

Importantly, a properly drafted estate plan includes naming a guardian for your children. If you have minor children, and you want to choose and control who cares for them if something happens to you, then you should contact one of our experienced estate law attorneys today.

If you choose to carry on without an estate plan, your state’s laws (e.g., Code of Virginia) will determine who inherits your “estate assets”. In Virginia, without a properly created estate plan, your local circuit court oversees the administration of your estate—causing unnecessary fees, court filings, inventories, and accountings that may tie your estate up in the courts for years. In all, the process can be a major headache for your family you leave behind.

Fortunately, you can make things easier for the people you love and provide them peace of mind by sitting down with one of our experienced estate law attorneys to craft a plan tailored to your needs, and that keeps the government out of your estate affairs.

With few exceptions, you can amend your estate plan at any time—whether you experience a change of heart, there is a significant change in your family dynamic, or if there has been a change in laws. We promise, the process is not as challenging as you may think.

Are you curious about what an estate plan may include? Here are four the documents that may be included in creating your estate plan:

A WILL AND/OR TRUST

These documents identify who you want to receive each of your assets, who you want to name as your children’s guardian, and who will be in charge of the administration and distribution of your assets when you pass. There are many situations that may benefit from incorporating a trust into your estate plan, including the avoidance of probate, reduction or elimination of federal estate taxes, and holding assets in trust for those beneficiaries who should not receive them outright—such as due to age, immaturity, or mental incompetence.

A POWER OF ATTORNEY

The individual you select will manage your finances if you are unable to do so yourself (e.g., pay your bills, manage investments, and make legal or business decisions).

A MEDICAL POWER OF ATTORNEY

If you are incapable of making important medical decisions, the individual you select will have the authority to make those decisions on your behalf.

ADVANCE MEDICAL DIRECTIVE

This document incorporates your end-of-life preferences such as your decisions related to artificial life support, organ donation, and other measures in certain health circumstances.

At CowanGates, our estate planning lawyers in Richmond, Virginia are knowledgeable, experienced, personal, and thorough. We take the time to listen to your specific situation and goals regarding your family and distribution of your assets, answer your estate planning questions, and help you develop an estate plan that protects your assets and gives you peace of mind.

Contact an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney in Richmond, VA

To speak with one of our estate planning attorneys in Richmond, Virginia, and craft a plan catered to your needs, call 804-320-9100 today and ask to speak with Michael Hall, Brandon Cowan, or Scott Stovall.