Estate planning can be important for people in Virginia who want to make sure that their assets pass on to their heirs in the manner they choose. By making an estate plan, people can allocate their property and also help to avoid future conflict and delays among their family members. There are several types of documents that can be an important part of an overall plan, including wills and trusts. Wills are perhaps the best-known estate document, a written testament that directs how a person's property should be disbursed after they pass away. It goes into effect after the person dies and, in most cases, passes through the probate court system.
Most people who have never had any experience with estate planning or caring for a sick loved one do not realize that there are multiple types of powers of attorney. Each has its own purpose and rules regarding when it goes into effect, what powers it gives the agent, and when or if it can be revoked.
People are busy. A Virginia resident may juggle many responsibilities as they fight to get to the end of each day. Between holding down a career, taking care of their kids and spouse, managing their home, and handling dozens of other transient tasks they may easily put off important matters that are not pressing or in need of their immediate help.
It is a commonly held belief that when a person passes on that their spouse will inherit their wealth and property. If that person dies without a spouse and has children, then those individuals will be given their deceased parent's money and assets. Where and how a Virginia resident's end of life estate goes once they have passed on can be managed through the creation of an estate plan. However, those who do not create formal plans for the disposition of their assets will have the laws of intestacy apply.
It is important that Virginia residents understand the importance of creating estate plans that meet their needs and fulfill their testamentary desires. One of the most foundational estate planning documents that individuals may choose to execute is a will. To legally create a will in Virginia, a person must meet several important requirements, one of which is to be of "sound mind."
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.