Justin Raber Attorney at Law

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Address financial and non-financial issues in estate planning

Some West Virginia residents and others throughout the country have likely given some thought to how things will be addressed after their passing. While many may have wills that address how assets will be distributed, others may have undergone more comprehensive estate planning. Experts suggest that individuals include some issues in the plan that go beyond the numbers.

When developing an estate plan, it seems logical to deal with the financial questions, such as asset distribution or establishing trusts. However, it is now recommended to address other non-financial questions during the process. Whatever decisions are made in the estate planning process, it is always important to share the information with loved ones so that someone's intentions can be properly executed.

One item to discuss is guardianship if minor children are involved. A guardian for the children should be identified in the event the parents are no longer around. After the guardians agree to the request, it would be helpful to have a conversation about the parents' wishes. Another area of concern is how someone might wish to live if dealing with dementia. While a person has all faculties, it is an opportune time to specifically communicate what type of care should be administered.

Along the same vein, an individual should state clearly what measures should be taken toward the end of life. Specifically, would someone want life-sustaining measures or rather be made comfortable? It is important to communicate one's wishes regarding a funeral and burial. Finally, many pet owners are including instructions about how animals will be cared for in their directives.

There are so many potential issues to address while estate planning. It is evident that each plan would be as unique as the person it was written to accommodate. A West Virginia estate attorney would help ensure that a plan is tailored to fully address a person's unique financial and personal situation.

Source: morningstar.com, "Don't Neglect the Softer Side of Your Estate Plan", Christine Benz, Sept. 17, 2017

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