Some things in life are easy to keep putting off. They may not seem essential, or they may be things that you want to avoid doing. Estate planning is one of those things that most adults in Washington, and the United States in general, put off until it is too late. When it comes to matters of probate, it is best not to put off what can be done today to protect oneself, one’s assets and one’s family. Why does having an estate plan matter?

An estate plan serves many purposes. First, it allows you to protect yourself if you ever become incapacitated. How? By naming who you wish to make decisions for you when you are unable to do so yourself and putting your wishes for medical and end-of-life care in writing so there is no mistake about what you want to be done.

Second, it allows you to protect your children. If you have minor children still living in your household or an adult child with special needs, you want to make sure they end up in the best possible position should you no longer be around to care for them. You can name guardians for them and even set up trusts to ensure your assets are used for their benefit.

Third, it allows you to name beneficiaries and what assets are to be theirs upon your death. When there are no beneficiary designations, families tend to fight about how assets are to be distributed. If you make your wishes clear, it can help avoid the fighting and allow your estate to be closed out quickly.

Matters of probate may not be something you think are important right now. You may think you need significant assets or need to be a certain age before taking the time to put an estate plan together. The simple truth, any adult, residing in Washington or elsewhere, no matter his or her age or station in life can benefit from putting an estate plan together as soon as possible. You never know what the future will bring. To learn more about estate planning and how a probate attorney can assist you with it, please take a moment and visit our firm’s website.