Most District of Columbia residents create an estate plan to minimize tax liability and provide for their loved ones. Understanding that these are the goals of estate planning does not always prepare an individual for making certain decisions. Deciding how much to give to each child, for example, may not be as easy as giving each of them an equal share.
When a District of Columbia resident lacks the capacity to care for himself or herself, a trusted family member or friend may step forward as an agent in accordance with powers of attorney for health and finances previously executed by the incapacitated person. In the absence of these documents, it is necessary to obtain court approval to act on that person's behalf. A guardianship is established with a minimum of fanfare and interruption in the individual's care.
Music fans in the District of Columbia probably already know that B.B. King's health is failing. He now has in-home hospice care and his affairs are being handled by his manager, who was given power of attorney by King. Recently, three of King's children went to court to obtain guardianship of their father.
Death and incapacitation are often two of the last subjects on the minds of people who are getting married. However, these issues become even more important when individuals decide to spend their lives together. Regardless of a District of Columbia resident's age or professional status, even basic estate planning needs to be a priority.
Most every District of Columbia resident is familiar with the part of estate planning that takes effect after death, such as wills and trusts. However, there is another side to estate planning that also bears careful consideration -- the possibility of incapacitation. Documents concerning these issues typically allow a trusted person to handle an individual's financial affairs and health care decisions if he or she is no longer capable of doing so.