What is an Underutilized Estate Plan in Washington State?

When most people think of an estate plan, they tend to picture an older individual (usually past retirement age) putting a will together that names their intended beneficiaries and the types of property they intend to leave to each beneficiary upon their passing. Although a last will and testament is a valuable estate planning document in Washington state, it is merely one tool that supports your estate planning goals. The estate planning process encompasses a wide range of topics and decisions, from addressing your healthcare treatment preferences in the event of your sudden incapacity to assigning someone you trust the responsibility of caring for your underage child in the unlikely event of your passing.

If you have yet to put an estate plan in place, you are far from alone—a recent survey uncovered that only 32 percent of Americans have a will in place (a 6 percent decline from 2023). For those who have established a will, there are many other tools and strategies that you can explore to make the most of your estate plan. Let’s take a look at the benefits of estate planning and how working with a Washington estate planning lawyer can help you keep your future and legacy as bright as possible.

Washington State Estate Planning Basics

An estate plan allows you to put clear instructions and legal protections in place to ensure that your wishes and preferences are known and respected when you pass away. Most people begin their estate planning journey with a last will and testament. This legal document articulates your vision for how you would like your property to be distributed upon your passing. You can also use your will to appoint a guardian for any minor children or children with special needs who will need safety and security when you are no longer here to care for them. Other elements of a basic estate plan typically include a durable power of attorney for financial matters, a durable power of attorney for health care, and an advanced healthcare directive. With these core documents in place, you can trust that major decisions about your health, finances, property, assets, and dependents will be made known and respected when the time comes.

The Importance of Estate Planning in Washington

As much as we may hope to control the future, many of life’s events are unpredictable. However, you can use your estate plan to prepare for the unexpected (such as an accident that renders you incapable of making critical decisions about your medical treatment or finances). Without taking the time to create a customized and thoughtful estate plan, you risk underutilizing the potential protections and benefits of estate planning that are available to support you and your loved ones. If you’re interested in learning more about the importance of estate planning in Clark County, reach out to a knowledgeable and experienced estate planning attorney in Washington to discuss your goals.

Estate planning tools extend far beyond addressing the beneficiaries and dividing your property among them. If you are interested in learning more about making the most of your estate plan in Washington, call The Vern McCray Law Firm, PLLC, today at (360) 834-6262 to get started with an experienced and highly qualified Clark County estate planning attorney.