Estate planning can be a heavy topic since it carries with it the specter of death. A person would not need an estate plan if they could live forever, and therefore the creation of an estate plan can be a dismal affair for an individual who is not ready to contemplate the end of their life. However, in Seattle and throughout the rest of Washington, there are a few groups of people who should be evaluating their future needs and how estate planning can serve them.
One group that may be unexpected to readers that falls into this category is new high school graduates. Many high school graduates are not only celebrating the end of their secondary educations, but also their transitions into adulthood. Having just turned 18 years old and preparing to venture out on their own, few may know that many of the legal rights and options that their parents exercised over them in their youths may cease.
A young adult may not have a lot of assets and wealth to protect in a will or trust, but they may wish to establish other estate planning documents. Health care and financial powers of attorney may be necessary to ensure that someone can step in to make decisions about their care and to manage their money if they are incapacitated.
Another group of individuals who should be planning for their end of life estates is the elderly. Older individuals can live long into their lives and some even reach 100 years old. However, age often brings health problems that can deprive older individuals of their abilities to care and think for themselves. Before an older individual is unable to state their wishes for the distribution of their estate or who they want in charge if they become unable to manage their own affairs, they should sit down with an estate planning attorney to document their intentions and formalize their legal plans.
The final group of people who should be thinking about estate planning is absolutely everyone else. From young adults just entering their lives to older individuals reaching their final years, all people, regardless of their age or income, should create their own estate plans to ensure that their testamentary desires are protected. For those who have estate plans in place, consideration should be given to evaluate if an existing estate plan should be changed. Many life events, such as divorce, remarriage, or the birth of children, can prompt the need for modifications to be made to wills, trusts, and other estate planning documents.
The world is an uncertain place and each day brings new challenges to the individuals who inhabit it. While no one can predict the future, anyone can create an estate plan to establish their wishes and intentions for the distribution of their assets. Estate planning attorneys can assist those readers who are ready to take the necessary steps to draft their comprehensive estate plans.