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What’s the Difference Between a Will and an Estate Plan in Washington State?

By January 7, 2021 No Comments

It’s common to think that the terms “estate plan” and “will” are interchangeable. However, while both processes address how your property will be distributed after you pass away, estate planning is a more comprehensive process that also provides instructions for your health care preferences, finances, and more. Many people incorrectly assume that wills and estate plans are only for those who have significant assets. Let’s take a look at how wills and estate plans can help Spokane Valley residents protect themselves and their loved ones, no matter what the future holds.

Creating a Will in Washington State

As you may know, a will is a document that expresses your wishes as to how you’d like your possessions and affairs to be handled upon your death. When you put a will in place, you leave instructions so that your executor will know how to distribute your belongings and property among your named beneficiaries. It’s important to note that putting a will in place is advantageous, even to those without significant assets. Should you pass away without a will in place (“intestate”), the Washington state court must step in to oversee the distribution of your estate. This process can be complicated and cumbersome to your loved ones, and disputes may arise that cause further stress and financial strain to family members. Whether you decide to create your own will using online templates and tools or you enlist the guidance of a knowledgeable estate planning attorney, the simple act of putting a will in place is a smart way to protect your loved ones.

Customizing Your Estate Plan to Protect Your Legacy

While a will is one component of an estate plan, there are several other documents that can provide you additional protections. For example, creating a living will allow you to document the types of medical treatments or interventions you’d like to receive (or not receive) in the event that you become incapacitated and unable to express such wishes yourself. You can also assign a healthcare power of attorney who can be trusted to step in to advocate for you and make difficult medical decisions on your behalf. You can also include a financial power of attorney as part of your estate plan to ensure that financial transactions, business decisions, and other financial matters are handled with your best interests in mind, should you become unable to articulate and oversee these decisions yourself.

Will and Estate Planning Services to Suit Your Needs

Whether you are looking to put a simple will in place or you’re interested in creating a more comprehensive estate plan, it’s a good idea to enlist the assistance of an experienced estate planning attorney. While online templates can be used to draft a will, many of these tools are too generic and vague, leaving you and your loved ones more vulnerable to legal disputes later on. Discuss your goals with your attorney so that you can feel confident in the quality of each component of your estate plan.

 

Interested in learning more about wills and estate planning services in the Spokane Valley area? Call Legacy Law Group today at (509) 315-8087 to speak with a dedicated estate planning attorney.