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Factors to Consider Before Drafting an Estate Plan

Northwest Elder Law Center Jan. 23, 2022

Young Man and Woman Consulting with Professional ConsultantDrafting an estate plan requires a thorough consideration of many factors. After all, an estate plan will affect the medical care you receive in the event of your incapacity, the distribution of your assets after your death, and guardianship for your minor children, among other things. That is why it is critical to think carefully before setting up an estate plan.

Contact an experienced estate planning attorney in Kennewick, Washington, to assist you with drafting a comprehensive and valid estate plan tailored to your long-term goals and needs. Attorney Robert Taylor-Manning at Northwest Elder Law Center helps clients navigate the estate planning process in Washington, as well as Portland, Oregon, and the surrounding areas. Allow an attorney to review your particular situation to determine what kind of plan will work best for you.

What Is Estate Planning?

Estate planning is the process of determining how your property and assets will be divided after your passing. However, a comprehensive estate plan also addresses other matters, including who will make healthcare-related decisions on your behalf in the event of your incapacity, who will care for your minor children and pets after your death, what kind of end-of-life medical care you would like to receive when you are no longer able to communicate your wishes, and more.

A well-crafted estate plan also seeks to minimize or eliminate estate and gift taxes and avoid the lengthy and costly probate process. Probate is a court-supervised formal process that authenticates the decedent’s will, if any, and appoints the executor of the deceased person’s estate to handle the distribution of assets.

Things to Consider When Drafting an Estate Plan

The documents you include in your estate plan and the decisions you make before drafting an estate plan will affect your property and your heirs long after you are gone. Estate planning carries long-term consequences, which is why it is vital to consider a number of factors when setting up a plan. Some of the factors you need to consider include:

  1. Understand your net worth. Calculating your net worth is critical when creating an estate plan because it helps you determine if your estate will be liable for federal or state estate taxes or inheritance taxes. This will help you plan accordingly if your goal is to minimize or eliminate taxes.

  2. Identify the long-term goals you want to achieve. A comprehensive estate plan is all about striving to achieve your goals and meet your needs in the long run. However, it is vital to clearly identify those goals and needs before you start planning.

  3. Compile a list of your assets and debts. People who have too many assets and debts often leave out some of their assets/debts when setting up an estate plan. It is crucial to make sure that your plan accounts for all of your assets and debts.

  4. Choose your beneficiaries. Once you have a detailed list of your assets, you need to think about who will inherit your property when you pass away. Consider who you would want your beneficiaries to be. Keep in mind that you can update your beneficiaries later.

  5. Determine what you want to do with your debt. If you leave behind any debt, you need to develop a strategy for paying off that debt so that your family members do not need to worry about this after your death.

  6. Consider who will make healthcare/financial decisions on your behalf. Setting up a medical/financial power of attorney is a critical part of a detailed estate plan. These documents specify who would make decisions on your behalf in the event of your incapacity.

  7. Consider what kind of end-of-life care you would or would not want to receive. With a living will, you can specify what kind of medical care and end-of-life procedure you would and would not want to undergo to keep you alive when you are no longer able to communicate your wishes.

These and many other things need to be considered to make sure that your estate plan accurately reflects your unique goals.

Getting the Experienced Legal Support You Need

Reach out to legal counsel to assist you with creating an estate plan tailored to your specific goals, needs, and circumstances. Attorney Robert Taylor-Manning, an experienced estate planning attorney in Kennewick, Washington, helps clients consider many factors when drafting an estate plan. Mr. Taylor-Manning also provides estate planning services to clients in Walla Walla, Richland, Pasco, as well as Portland, Oregon, and neighboring areas. Contact Northwest Elder Law Center to set up a consultation.