Thinking about dying or becoming incapacitated is not how most Washington, DC residents would prefer to spend their time. However, dealing with unpleasant thoughts for a short time can save a family from months and possibly years of turmoil when or if the time comes. Estate planning is one way of showing family members just how much they are loved.
When a person passes away or becomes incapacitated, family members have enough issues without having to discern what that person's wishes were regarding the disposition of his or her property. If a person suffers incapacitation, not having a plan in place can cause untold anguish and arguments among family members. They may be left to make difficult decisions without any guidance from the now-incapacitated person.
At a minimum, an estate plan typically includes a will, durable power of attorney, living will and healthcare power of attorney. Other documentation such as trusts may be utilized depending on the financial circumstances and goals of an individual's estate plan. This process would also be a good time to review accounts that are designated to be passed on to another person automatically through a beneficiary designation to make sure these accounts will end up with the intended party.
Making these arrangements may not always be pleasant, but it will save friends and family the possibility of complications and confrontations later. Other advantages gained from proper estate planning can give a Washington, DC resident's family and friends as much benefit from the assets left to them as possible. This may be especially true for those with high value estates that could have significant tax ramifications if not correctly handled in an estate plan.
Source: marketwatch.com, 5 estate-plan strategies for boomers, Andrea Coombes, Nov. 29, 2013