Skip to main content
Estate PlanningLong-Term Care PlanningWills

How Can Long-Term Planning Safeguard the Legacy of a Surviving Spouse?

Everyone should be proactive when it comes to long-term planning to protect their legacy and ensure the care of their surviving spouse. Many people assume that this is something to only be concerned about if they are elderly or in poor health, but it is something that is necessary for everyone. Being proactive when creating your estate plan ensures your surviving spouse will be financially cared for and will continue to live comfortably.

Draft a Will

One of the most important long-term planning steps you need to take is drafting your will. A will is a legal document that allows you to provide clear instructions on how decisions will be handled after your death. A will can outline your burial wishes, assets that will go to charity, name guardians for adolescence or mentally handicapped loved ones, etc.

One of the main purposes of a will is to designate how assets will be divided among your surviving family members. If you do not include this in your will, state law will take over when deciding how your assets are going to be divided. Drafting a will gives you complete control so that you can better care for your loved ones for the future.

Failing to create a will can also extend the probate process, which can be stressful on your surviving loved ones and incur significant legal fees.

Establish a Living Trust

A living trust is very similar to a will as it outlines your last wishes and dictates how your assets will be distributed. The reason many choose to establish a living trust is that it can significantly decrease the risk of a lengthy and costly probate process that your loved ones may encounter with a will.

If you establish a living trust, you will need to include assets, such as real estate, insurance policy, death benefits, stocks, retirement accounts, and heirlooms or precious memorabilia.

You can also use a living trust not just for estate planning but for long-term care as well. Estate planning long-term care is crucial if you have any existing health issues, if you want to prepare for potential health problems in the future, or if you will need long-term care. Long-term care planning prepares for this, ensuring you will get the care you need without completely draining your assets.

Look Into Life Insurance Policies

Everyone should have a life insurance policy to help with the finances after they have passed away. You need to do research into your life insurance policy to better understand what will go to your beneficiaries upon the time of your death. With the right insurance policy, this money could be used to not only pay for burial expenses but also replace lost income for your surviving spouse.

Insurance policies can be confusing to navigate, which is why it is beneficial to hire a long-term planning lawyer who can help you figure out what your policy includes.

Have a Power of Attorney

If you create a will, you will need to establish a power of attorney, which is a document that designates a specific person as someone who will make decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. This could be your long-term planning attorney, a family member, or a close friend. You need to be very careful when choosing someone to ensure that person will act in your best interest and ensure your last wishes are followed.

If you have created a trust, it will already have a trustee added to it who will manage and oversee your assets.

Get Organized

Part of why long-term planning for your estate is so important is that it takes the stress off of your surviving spouse. Life is unexpected, and you may pass away suddenly, leaving your surviving spouse to pick up the pieces. An estate plan takes away the guesswork and provides a clear path regarding finances and your assets.

To ensure that your loved one gets the most out of your estate plan, you need to have everything organized and easily available. Itemize your assets and create a list of debts that you will be leaving behind. You should also collect documents regarding insurance, digital assets, subscriptions, and retirement accounts.

Keep all of this information in one location where your spouse knows they can access it when they need it.

Update Your Estate Plan

A mistake that many people make is creating their estate plan and thinking that their job is over. However, it is crucial that you regularly go back and update your estate plan on a yearly basis to add or subtract different things. For instance, you may have a new grandchild that you want to add as a beneficiary or you may have sold off one of your assets and need to remove it.

Updating your estate plan ensures it includes everything that is important for your surviving loved ones after you have passed away. This reduces confusion and protects your state from going into an extended probate process.

Hire an Attorney

Many people in Washington may think that they can plan their estate on their own, especially if they don’t have any significant assets. The reality is that this is a very complex process, and there are certain legal requirements you have to follow to ensure your surviving loved ones are taken care of. The only way to guarantee that this process goes smoothly and your last wishes are respected is to hire a long-term planning attorney.

A long-term care planning attorney will help you create your long-term plan in a way that is legally binding and thorough. They will also be the one to help your surviving loved ones after you have passed away to ensure your state is divided as you have wished.

Get in Touch With an Estate Planning Attorney Today

To get started on long-term strategic planning for your estate, reach out to an experienced estate planning attorney at Legacy Law Group in Washington. Contact us today at 509-315-8087 to speak with one of our lawyers to get the process started.

site by LegalRev