At some point in everyone’s lifetime, a serious injury, illness, or impending death can leave them too debilitated to make good decisions for themselves regarding health care or property. Having a well thought out estate plan in place before any of these things happen can provide significant peace of mind, especially for people with family members or loved ones who rely on them.
But despite the fact that estate plans are essential for managing health care, medical treatment, and property in cases of illness or death, far too many people do not have a plan in place. While it can be difficult to know where to begin, working with a Fairfax estate planning attorney is a good starting point. The experienced team at S&R Law Firm is committed to guiding you through the estate planning process from start to finish so you can rest assured that your affairs are in order.Why Do I Need an Estate Plan?
Planning ahead for how your health care, medical treatment, and property will be managed if you are disabled or dying is essential, yet less than half of all people do not have wills or durable powers of attorney, and even fewer have advance medical directives or living wills. There are serious consequences to this. If you do not clearly lay out your wishes in a legal document, your health care may be improperly handled, or your property will not be distributed to your heirs in the way you would prefer.
Without an estate plan, your family may also be left to deal with significant unexpected expenses and taxes or endure conflicts about how your health care should be handled. The best way to avoid these issues is to work with a qualified estate planning attorney in Fairfax. If you are in need of legal advice on your estate plan, do not hesitate to contact S&R Law Firm for a free consultation.What is an Estate Plan?
A comprehensive estate plan is a set of legal documents that addresses all of the financial and medical issues that will affect you and your family in case you die or become incapacitated and cannot communicate your wishes on your own. Its purpose is to protect you, your health, and your assets. It may potentially include any or all of the following documents:
- An advance medical directive
- A durable power of attorney
- A revocable living trust
- An irrevocable life insurance trust
- A family limited partnership for business projects
- A pre-marital or marital agreement
- A supplemental or special needs trust
- A will
In terms of health and medical care, a complete estate plan will address:
- Who will make healthcare decisions for you if you become disabled
- Who will manage your assets and personal affairs if you become disabled
- How you will pay for long-term care or a nursing home
- How you will support your loved ones who depend on you
- Whether you have sufficient insurance and assets to pay any expenses and taxes that arise if you become disabled or die
- Ways to reduce taxes and expenses
- The type of medical care you want if you are dying or too disabled to make these decisions on your own
An estate plan will also address what becomes of your property, finances, and assets, including:
- Who will settle your affairs and distribute your property after you die
- Where your property will go
- Whether your beneficiaries require assistance or protection, and how they will receive this
Because these matters can be complicated, working with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney serving Fairfax can help you gain a thorough understanding of your options and make sound decisions. It is especially important to work with a Fairfax wills and estates attorney if you have special needs (such as being disabled or impaired), or if you have beneficiaries who are minors, disabled, or impaired. A good attorney can help you find the best ways to protect yourself and your assets while supporting beneficiaries who have credit, marital, or substance abuse issues or special needs.
The experienced wills and estates attorney at S&R Law Firm has helped a significant number of clients make these difficult decisions in ways that are most beneficial to themselves and their loved ones. We can also help you review and update existing estate plans and advise you on how to determine who should administer your plan so that your money and assets are fully protected.
To find out more about how we can help with your specific situation, contact a Fairfax estate planning attorney at S&R Law Firm today at 703-273-6431.