Estate planning is one of the things in life that people in Washington and around the country tend not to consider until they have to. It is not pleasant to think about or plan for death, but it is best to think about it sooner rather than later. When people fall ill unexpectedly, it can be a scramble to get affairs in order, and a basic estate plan can be established with only a bit of time and effort.
The first step in many cases is to contact an attorney who has experience in these types of matters. For people who own significant property, a trust may solve most planning needs. There are benefits and drawbacks to each type, including irrevocable and revocable trusts. Even after the plan is established, it is important for people to stay in contact with their estate planning attorneys. Plans may need to be updated as the person's family or financial situation changes.
Estate planning is especially important for parents. The situation and personality of each child is unique, and parents may want to create plans that treat their children the same or differently. Either path is possible with the right documents. Depending on the size of the estate, it may be necessary to pay estate taxes. If there are certain assets that have particular sentimental value, it might be a good idea to separate those to ensure they are not sold to satisfy tax obligations.
An estate planning attorney might be able to help individuals who have questions about these matters. An attorney can suggest the types of documents that could be the most appropriate for a client's particular situation.