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Why estate planning is important

Many people in Virginia feel uncomfortable with estate planning for an array of reasons. It makes people think about their own death, and it can also bring up difficult family relationships. Some people may have superstitions about how thinking about death can bring it on. Of course, the process can also involve challenging decisions about the financial future. Still, making an estate plan is an important part of planning successfully for the future.

Many Americans do not have even a basic will, but the consequences of failing to plan can be difficult for family members and loved ones left behind. Many people envision how their assets should be used in the future, but without committing it to paper, there is nothing to ensure that this vision becomes a reality. In addition, without direction, family members may be more prone to conflict over the distribution of a person's estate. This is even the case for people who don't have significant financial assets but still want to be sure to record their wishes for their children's guardianship or the distribution of sentimental items.

In addition, estate planning is more than just writing a will. One of the most critical parts of any estate process is the creation of a health care advance directive and powers of attorney that can designate who is responsible for major medical decisions in case the person is incapacitated. Making a plan can also include updating insurance and retirement-plan beneficiaries to avoid unpleasant surprises later on.

Even once an estate plan is in place, it can be important to update it regularly to keep up with changes to the law or the creator's family. An attorney may work with a person to develop key documents like wills, trusts and powers of attorney that reflect an overall plan for the future.

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