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Improving your estate plan in 2020

With so little time left in 2019, you may be wondering how you can make the most of it. If you are looking for ways to do something positive and generous for your loved ones, you may wish to consider reviewing your estate plan. This simple act can provide your family with a legacy of your love and compassion for which they will be forever grateful.

If your estate plan currently consists of a simple will, you may want to examine whether additional documents may benefit you and your loved ones. For many in Virginia, a lack of information about the options available is the main reason why they do not leave a more complete estate plan after they pass away. Having even a general idea of what constitutes a comprehensive plan may give you enough to start an important conversation with your estate planning attorney.    

Is your plan complete?

Your will is a good starting point as long as it is well prepared and meets the laws of the state of Virginia. Using an online or do-it-yourself will kit may not meet your needs, especially if you have complex assets or unique factors in your family. An ill-prepared or vague will can do the opposite of your intentions by creating confusion that leads to disputes among your heirs. A carefully drafted will is just the beginning. Other important documents in a complete estate plan include the following:

  • By funding certain assets to a revocable living trust, you allow those assets to bypass probate and more easily end up in the hands of your heirs. Trusts can also minimize the tax implications of your estate and keep your estate details private.
  • Your health care power of attorney grants authority to a trusted person whom you designate to speak for you regarding medical treatment if you are unable to speak for yourself.
  • By providing an advance medical directive in your estate plan, you clarify your wishes for the kinds of medical care you wish to receive and those situations in which you want doctors to withhold certain treatments.
  • Similar to a health care power of attorney, your financial power of attorney agent will manage your finances, investments and other legal matters if you are too ill to handle them on your own.

You can start off the new year on the right foot by learning much more about these estate planning documents and how they can benefit you and your family. Scheduling a consultation with a knowledgeable attorney is a smart first step.

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Madigan and Scott, Inc.
7880 Backlick Road
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Springfield, VA 22150

Phone: 703-455-1800
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Springfield Family Law Office