Virginians who have yet to craft even a basic estate plan should consider the various reasons why it is beneficial to do so. This is true for people of any age. Many people ignore the reality of needing an estate plan. This can cause problems for their loved ones if the person becomes incapacitated or passes on without a plan in place.
It is important to understand common mistakes. One is not having a will at all or putting it in a location where it cannot be located. A basic will is essential for people who have significant assets to distribute and those who have less. It may sound simple, but it should also be in a place where it can be easily found.
Wills should be updated and beneficiaries clearly designated. With assets, designating a beneficiary will ensure that person gets them. Retirement accounts like a 401(k) require a designation, and it is crucial that the testator is consistent with the will and that designation. An example of when there can be conflict is if a person gets divorced and remarries, but that does not change the beneficiary designation on the asset to the new spouse.
Finally, it is useful to have a power of attorney for children 18 or older. At 18, the child is a legal adult. If there is an accident or medical issue that leads to incapacitation, the parent cannot make decisions or handle personal matters on the child’s behalf without applicable powers of attorney. Estate planning can be complex, and the mere process is often intimidating and worrisome. Despite that, it is wise to have these documents in place to be fully protected in the future. Contacting a law firm that specializes in estate planning may provide individuals with guidance and help.