Why Gifting an Estate Plan Is an Act of Love

Why Gifting an Estate Plan Is an Act of Love

Gifting an estate plan is an act of love, plain and simple. That’s because an estate plan goes far beyond material possessions, addressing the emotional, practical, and long-term well-being of your loved ones and perhaps others more globally. An estate plan also reflects the deep concern you have for your loved ones’ financial security while enabling you to provide the same for yourself during your lifetime. Lastly, an estate plan allows you to preserve and model your values and legacy to others long after you’re gone. 

Though not necessarily the first gift that comes to mind when thinking about romance, an estate plan is actually a great way to express to those special people in your life how much you care for them. Below are examples of what the gift of an estate plan can bring to your loved ones and to you. But first, an overview of what a comprehensive estate plan is and the documents it includes. 

What is an estate plan, and what documents does it include?

Estate planning is a structured method of organizing both your personal and financial details to navigate potential situations that include mental incapacity and death. Tailored to your existing family and financial circumstances, a comprehensive estate plan should encompass the following five legal documents. 

As a side note, given its application to current circumstances, you should review your estate plan every three to five years. In the event of a life passage relevant to your estate plan, such as a birth, death, or divorce, you should review it sooner and consult a Seattle estate planning attorney to make any changes as necessary.

Will

A will, also called a last will and testament, allows you to designate a personal representative and articulate your preferences regarding the distribution of your assets after your passing. The personal representative is responsible for managing your estate and executing your instructions.

In Washington state, there are four basic requirements for creating a valid will. Your will must …

Be in writing.

Your will must be in writing, whether handwritten or typed.

Appoint an executor.

Your will needs to appoint an executor, the individual responsible for carrying out your wishes.

Include a signature and date.

Your will must be signed by you and dated.

Be witnessed by two people.

Two competent adults must witness your signing and sign the document themselves.

While not mandatory, it is best to have your will notarized. Notarization affords easier authentication during probate proceedings

For a well-written will, additional language is necessary above and beyond the basics of what you want to include. Having the expertise of a Washington state estate planning lawyer can further increase the likelihood of your will being validated when the time comes.

Attempting to draft a last will and testament without the advice of an estate planning lawyer comes with some risks. A single error could jeopardize the enforceability of your will, complicating your estate plan. 

To maximize the likelihood that you have communicated your intentions clearly and that they are positioned to be executed according to your wishes, consult with a Seattle estate planning attorney. 

Durable Power of Attorney for Finances (Financial POA)

A durable power of attorney for finances, also known as a financial power of attorney, allows you to designate an individual you trust to act as your agent and handle your financial affairs should you be unable to do so yourself.

Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care (Medical POA)

A durable power of attorney for health care, also known as a medical power of attorney, allows you to designate an individual you trust to act as your agent and make health care and medical decisions on your behalf in the event you become incapacitated.

Advance Health Care Directive (Living Will)

An advance health care directive, also known as a living will, becomes effective upon your incapacity and inability to communicate your wishes regarding medical decisions. The document outlines your preferences for health care and any end-of-life decisions you may have.

Cremation Directive

This document outlines your burial and funeral preferences, serving as a guide for your loved ones.

Examples of What the Gift of an Estate Plan Can Bring Your Loved Ones

An opportunity to provide financial security.

An estate plan includes details about the distribution of your assets, such as property, savings, and investments, in your will. Creating and gifting an estate plan offering financial security can thus be a practical way to demonstrate how much you care about your loved ones. 

An opportunity to reduce conflict and stress. 

A well-thought-out estate plan can help minimize stress and conflict among family members during a challenging time. By clearly outlining your wishes and intentions regarding the distribution of your assets to your beneficiaries and any end-of-life decisions you have, you reduce the likelihood of disputes and misunderstandings during a trying time and well after it. 

An opportunity to prepare for a crisis. 

An estate plan is not just about distributing assets; it also allows you to manage health care decisions, appoint guardians for minor children, and establish medical and financial powers of attorney. 

Addressing these key issues while you are alive and well can support you in making well-thought-out decisions. If you don’t prepare for a crisis, such as incapacity or death, in advance, you risk others making decisions on your behalf without considering your wishes. 

An opportunity to plan for your loved ones’ futures. 

Creating an estate plan requires careful thought and consideration of your loved ones’ needs and circumstances, not only your own. By taking the time to plan for the future and considering the best interests of your family alongside yours, you demonstrate your love and care for them.

An opportunity to make sure your pets are in safe hands. 

Estate planning in Washington state typically focuses on asset distribution and financial and health care management in the event of incapacitation or death. While commonly associated with human beneficiaries, a well-crafted estate plan can include the protection of pets, which are legally considered property in the state.

An opportunity to share your values and legacy for generations to come.

An estate plan can be an effective way to pass on your values and legacy to future generations. You can include provisions for charitable giving, direct money to educational funds, or designate resources for specific causes that align with your values. In this way, you can make a lasting impact not only on your loved ones but on the communities and groups you wish to serve. 

Find a Seattle estate planning lawyer.   

Thinking about what would happen if you died or became incapacitated may not be among your most enjoyable pastimes, but it can make your life and the lives of your heirs more enjoyable — or, at least, more peaceful. 

Given the complex laws around estate planning in Washington state, having a well-experienced estate planning lawyer guiding you can make the process easier and less daunting. A skilled and experienced estate planning attorney will also be able to better pinpoint details needing attention as well as minimize the possibility your estate plan will be contested.

At Elise Buie Family Law, we are here to answer any questions you may have regarding creating a new estate plan or updating an existing one. Call our Seattle estate planning team today

STAY UP TO DATE

Subscribe to our newsletters

 
Subscribe to one or more of our newsletters, delivering meaningful insight on topics that matter to you and your family.
ebl home subscribe image

FURTHER READING

Latest Blog Posts

Unsure where to begin gathering the foundation you need to go through the divorce process with confidence and well-prepared? Consider the following 10 tips to prepare for divorce.

Everyone who has anyone in their life needs an estate plan, even people who own little or no property.

A common question about legal fees is why they are so high. The following article details what is built into legal fees and explains their cost.

Gifting an estate plan is an act of love because an estate plan goes far beyond material possessions, addressing the emotional, practical, and long-term well-being of your loved ones.

Prenuptial agreements (also known as prenups) can play a pivotal role in safeguarding individual spousal rights in the event of divorce and can also strengthen a marriage.

Valentine’s Day can be tricky for single parents, maybe even you. Unpartnered, at least for the time being, you might not foresee your plans fitting into conventional images of the holiday. But that doesn’t have to be. Valentine’s Day, when you’re single, can be more than a day you need to survive. It can be a day to look forward to.

Collaborative law has evolved into a globally practiced
discipline, extending well beyond the realm of family law, and is used frequently in Seattle divorces.

Classifying January as divorce month could be misleading, given how some of the numbers tell a different story. However, one thing remains clear: January is a great time for a fresh start.

A family law attorney can help with child custody (residential time) by creating or modifying a parenting plan.

Given the importance of the trustee’s role in an estate plan, it is necessary to understand the responsibilities before choosing a trustee or accepting the obligation to become one.