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March 2014 Archives

Estate planning: what happens after the documents are signed?

Depending on a Washington, DC, resident's circumstances, an estate plan is either simple or complex. The number of estate planning documents necessary to properly provide for an individual's wishes and desires regarding disposition of his or her property varies. Once those documents are drafted and executed, many people wonder what happens next.

Estate planning does not have to be complicated to be effective

Estate plans are not only for the wealthy residents of the District of Columbia. Everyone could benefit from conducting even a minimal amount of estate planning. Otherwise, an individual's desires regarding the disposition of his or her assets may not be carried out. In addition, estate planning encompasses certain documentation meant to assist family members in the event an individual becomes unable to make decisions for himself or herself.

The other side of estate planning for Washington, DC residents

When most Washington, DC residents think of an estate plan, they think of wills and trusts. However, there is another side to estate planning that is just as important, if not more in some respects, as the documents that distribute property after death. A durable power of attorney and healthcare power of attorney could be crucial documents if an individual becomes incapacitated in some way.

Would living trusts help Washington, DC residents?

The simple yet unpopular answer to this question is maybe. Of course, every Washington, DC resident needs a will. Whether to have a living trust, however, depends on the types of assets that are owned by a Washington, DC resident and what his or her estate planning goals are with respect to those assets. A general rule of thumb is if an individual owns assets that can appreciate -- but have no listed beneficiary -- living trusts could be useful.

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