As the population of our country continues to age, more people -- including many here in the District of Columbia -- may end up needing long-term care because of an illness or incapacitation. When an adult lacks the capacity to care for himself or herself, it becomes necessary for someone -- usually a family member -- to step forward and take over that individual's care. In some cases, it may be necessary to obtain a guardianship and conservatorship to handle the health care and financial affairs of a loved one.
Many District of Columbia residents have put plans into place for the possibility of needing long-term care later in life. However, nowhere near as many people discuss their long-term care planning with adult children. This could be because many individuals are under the impression that they will not need the assistance of their children in the future.
The estate plan of every Washington, DC, resident is different. Some people have just a will, durable power of attorney and advance medical directive, while others have trusts and other documents. The one thing that binds all estate planning documents together, however, is the fact that everyone must choose one or more people -- or a company in some cases -- to carry out an individual's wishes when the time comes.
The difference between settling a Washington D.C. estate quickly after a loved one's death and a time-consuming and expensive process could be as simple as locating all of the materials needed to administer the estate. Estate planning documents need to be found easily by a decedent's family after death. Just because the documents are signed does not mean that everything will go according to plan.
When it comes to passing on a District of Columbia resident's assets, he or she may choose to use a trust. A good deal of time and effort may go into setting up the trust in such a way to ensure that distributions are made in accordance with the wishes of the trust's creator. However, even with all of this effort, trusts are only as good as the person or persons selected to administer them.