Virginia residents should execute wills and other estate planning documents. That is because these testamentary tools may be used to distribute their estates and wealth according to their own intentions after they pass away. Without estate plans, an individual's assets will be given out according to a state's intestacy laws, which may run contrary to the decedent's wishes.
It is important that individuals who wish to create and execute wills in Virginia speak with attorneys who work in the estate planning field. That is because the Commonwealth imposes certain requirements on wills in order for them to be considered valid. When a will is deficient or does not meet the standards set by state law, it may not be used as a controlling document in the disposition of the decedent's estate.
Family relationships are complicated, and many families in Virginia have their fair share of squabbles. However, when it comes to estate planning, family feuds can complicate matters. A person might want to name some relatives as heirs but not others, or an heir might contest a will they feel is unfair. Fighting can also come up during difficult emotional times, such as having to make medical decisions for an incapacitated loved one. Executing an estate plan in a high-conflict family takes care.
Raising a special needs child is an act of love, and many parents in Virginia who find themselves in such a situation want to do all they can to make sure their special needs child lives life to its fullest. However, parents of special needs children may be concerned about how their child will be cared for once the child is grown and the parents are no longer able or alive to care for the child. One way to address this scenario is through proper estate planning, and for many this includes the execution of a special needs trust.
According to the U.S. government’s Administration on Aging, there is a 70 percent likelihood that individuals age 65 and older will need some sort of long-term care. Despite this staggering statistic, many people fail to plan for long-term care needs.
People executing an estate plan have a lot of options to consider. One estate planning tool that many people in Virginia find useful is a revocable trust. A person (known as the grantor) can execute a revocable trust but, as the name implies, retains the ability to change the provisions of the trust during their lifetime if they wish. The grantor's assets will be placed in the trust during his or her lifetime. Then, when the grantor passes away, the trust becomes irrevocable and assets are distributed to the grantor's heirs per the terms of the trust.
According to the Census Bureau, approximately 17 percent of people in the U.S. will marry a second time after their first marriage ends. While many in Virginia may feel lucky to have found love again following a death or divorce, the legal issues surrounding second marriages can be more complex than those regarding a person's first marriage. This is especially true when it comes to estate planning.
Some married couples in Virginia may have executed an estate plan together, never anticipating that one day their union may end. However, divorce is reality for many couples in the U.S. When a couple divorces, in addition to resolving their divorce legal issues, they may also want to review their estate plan, and revise it when necessary.
As 2018 draws to a close and 2019 is upon us, it is a time of reflection. As a person takes stock of their life, what they've done and what they wish for the future and beyond, one thing that they may want to contemplate is executing an estate plan. A well-rounded estate plan can protect you and your loved ones should you become incapacitated, and it can ensure your assets will be handed down to your chosen heirs once you pass on.
No one really wants to think about their death. However, death will come to all of us sooner or later. Through estate planning, we can address issues such as inheritances, end-of-life care and more. However, for a variety of reasons, not everyone in Virginia has executed an estate plan. But, they may want to consider doing so, for the benefit of themselves and their loved ones.