When it comes to estate planning documents, most District of Columbia residents immediately think of wills and trust. Where it is true that these documents are an integral part of any estate plan, they are not the only documents every resident needs. A durable power of attorney and advance medical directive are crucial in the event that an individual becomes unable to make financial and/or health care decisions alone.
Of course, creating a District of Columbia estate plan is done in order to provide for the disposition of a resident's assets upon death. Wills, trusts and other documents allow a person to maintain control over where and how heirs and beneficiaries receive an inheritance. However, estate planning is also designed to make things easier for an individual's family members if he or she becomes incapacitated or passes away.
Most District of Columbia parents want to be sure that their children are provided for after their deaths. However, many of them are unsure how to achieve this goal. Estate planning can accomplish this goal using three tools: wills, trusts and beneficiary designations.
The Census Bureau reports that at any given time, approximately 4 percent of the country's population that is 65 years and older live in nursing homes. The same data indicates that nearly 50 percent of people age 95 or older are in nursing homes. This brings up the question of funding, along with whether long term care insurance should be part of a District of Columbia resident's elder care planning.
Part of the function of a Washington, D.C. resident's estate plan is to make things easier for the family members that are left behind. The probate process can be complex, time consuming and costly without proper planning ahead of time. In addition to a will, a revocable living trust can help family members cut through a good portion of the process since the property held in the trust does not have to go through probate.