Seattle, WA estates & probate lawyer Bill Hickman talks about the process of creating an estate plan and what documents are necessary.
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Well, at a minimum, you should have either a will or perhaps a revocable trust if that’s appropriate. That’s going to, of course, dictate where your assets go upon your death. You should definitely have a durable power of attorney for the handling of your financial affairs and your property, designating someone to take care of that if you become incapacitated. You should also have a power of attorney for healthcare so that you’ve designated somebody who can make medical healthcare decisions for you in the event you become incapacitated. And then we would also talk about a healthcare directive or sometimes it’s called a living will that would say that you don’t want to be kept alive by artificial means once the time comes that you’re say in a permanent unconscious condition.
And then in addition to that, we’re very careful about advising people how to set up the beneficiary designations on their life insurance and their retirement accounts. Those assets are not typically controlled by what you put in your will or in your revocable trust. Rather, they’re controlled by what you put on the beneficiary form that’s on file with the company. So coordination between your beneficiary forms and your estate planning documents is important and we help people with that.