Estate planning is a very important topic that many adults discuss on a regular basis. Once an individual in the District of Columbia turns 18 years of age they are able to create a will. This means that they are able to begin the process of estate planning which will help them make important decisions regarding who, and what, should be included in their final will.
There are some individuals who brush off estate planning considering it a waste of time and money. These people often do not realize the negative affects that failure to plan can have on a family. This is especially true when a person is married and has parents, not children that depend on them for care and money.
The laws in the District of Columbia regarding inheritance in situations where no will has been prepared are more lenient than some states but can still cause problems. In situations where a parent is dependent on a child for care they can find themselves in a difficult situation if there is no will leaving them money or property. Under the District of Columbia law a spouse will be entitled to three-fourths of your entire estate. This will leave only a fourth of the estate, usually in the form of cash, to parents. The only way to avoid this is to leave a last will in testament that provides for loved ones.
The estate planning process starts with understanding the laws in the District of Columbia regarding trusts, probates, and wills. It is important to know what sort of things can be left to a family member in a will and what things require special arrangements. In most cases any property that requires a deed or title to be transferred will require the assistance of a lawyer.
To save time make a list of your assets, a list of beneficiaries, and determine who you want to inherit what asset. Take this rough draft to an attorney who can tell you what wording is required and who can draw up a will on your behalf. The attorney can also set up trusts for small children to be managed by a trustee until they come of legal age. Trusts can be made for children that are not your own including grandchildren, relatives, and the children of friends. Once you have signed the will and it is witnessed a lawyer and file the will with the court making it valid and allowing you to transfer property with deeds and titles.
Estate planning in the District of Columbia should also include planning for expenses that will occur after death. This includes more than setting aside money for the funeral. Find out how much any probate taxes will be. These are the fees for transferring titles, deeds, and paying death taxes. Also consider the fees associated with trust management. A trustee should be paid an hourly or weekly wage in return for managing wealth for minor children. These expenses should be planned for when making bequests.