Estate planning documents may include a will, community property agreement, premarital agreement, revocable (living) trust, irrevocable trust, general durable power of attorney (for financial decision), durable power of attorney for health care, and health care directive (also known as Directive to Physician or Living Will).
An elder law attorney can help sort through state and federal laws to prepare documents for your specific situation and can recommend whether existing documents need to be updated or changed. It is important to take care of estate planning matters while you are still able to understand, make decisions, and sign the necessary paperwork.
Estate planning involves analyzing your assets to make sure they will be owned as you intend. For example, some forms of property ownership, such as joint tenancy with right of survivorship, cause property to pass outside of your Will. If that was not your intent, your lawyer will help you coordinate your plan.
Estate planning may also include structuring your estate to avoid probabte. probate is the court supervised process for settling an estate. probate procedures in Washington are generally jore streamlined and less costly than probabte procedures in other states, and probate may be beneficial in confirming the rights of both beneficiaries and creditors.
A lawyer can also help coordiante probate and non-probate assests to meet your tax planning goals. Your personal priorities will determine which estate planning strategies are appropriate for you.