Besides preparing a will, there are some other things that people find useful in planning their estates. An attorney can discuss and help implement these types of estate planning ideas with you.
1. Durable Power of Attorney
If you become disabled or incompetent, your family may need to go to court to have a guardian appointed to look after your affairs. The appointment of a guardian can be expensive and complicated. By preparing a Durable Power of Attorney while you are still competent, a lot of time and expense can be saved later on. You can also specifically name the person you wish to look after your affairs in the event you become disabled or incompetent.
2. Directive to Physician
Sometimes called a “Living Will,” this document provides that if there should ever come a time when a person is being kept alive only by artificial means, it is that person’s wish to die a natural death and end any life-sustaining measures. The language of a Directive to Physician must be precise and conform to specific Washington state laws.
3. Re-characterizing property
Some property can pass to others without the necessity of probate. With this in mind, some people choose to characterize bank accounts and real estate as joint tenancies with the right of survivorship. An attorney can help determine what can and cannot be so characterized and an attorney can help re-characterize property to be put under a joint tenancy with the right of survivorship.
4. Living Trust
Under certain circumstances, it is useful to give all or some of one’s property away before one dies by putting such property into what is called a “Living Trust.” Such devices are sometimes used to keep property in the hands of the family when it looks like a person might have to be placed in a nursing home.
For experienced and personal care in drafting your will and other estate planning documents, contact Stephen Katz at (206) 525-5500.