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Getting organized can be the key to a quality estate plan

When a Virginia resident passes away, his or her assets will be distributed to other parties. A Will can ensure that those assets are distributed in accordance to the deceased's wishes. However, simply having a Will doesn't mean that an estate plan is complete.

Ideally, an estate holder will have a financial power of attorney, a health care directive, a Will and a living trust. Assets in such a trust can be used for a person's benefit while alive and then pass to a beneficiary without the need to go through probate. The durable power of attorney entrusts another party to make decisions related to paying bills, filing tax returns or other designated tasks. With a health care directive, an estate holder can address consent issues regarding medical treatment.

An estate plan can be beneficial to those who have children under the age of 18. Such a plan can also make it easier for surviving family members to locate and access digital assets such as a social media, bank or email account. During the estate plan process, individuals should gather any important documents, including bank statements or retirement account statements.

The process of creating an estate plan should be done with the assistance of an attorney to ensure that a person's wishes are fully met and all assets are discussed and handled through a Will, Revocable Living Trust, and/or beneficiary designations.. Those who aren't sure about where to start to complete the estate planning process will benefit from consulting with legal counsel. The same may be true for those who need help making changes to an existing plan. Ideally, a plan will be reviewed at least every three to five year's to ensure that it still meets the estate holder's needs.

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