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Trusts, wills, other documents essential parts of estate plans

Considering estate planning can seem overwhelming. What exactly does a Virginia estate plan involve, and how can individuals go about setting up trusts and creating other pertinent documents? Here is a rundown of the most critical components of any comprehensive plan.

First, a living trust is a legal document that adds assets to a trust for the benefit of the owner of these assets while he or she is alive. Then, the trust transfers any other assets to the person's designed beneficiaries when he or she dies. The asset owner must select a trustee to oversee the trust. The benefit of a trust is that any property placed in it will not have to go through the lengthy and costly probate court process. In other words, it will end up reaching inheritors faster.

The last will and testament spells out who will receive certain assets after the owner passes away. A durable power of attorney is another important document that gives a designated individual the authority to handle an incapacitated person's financial matters in specified circumstances. Finally, an advance health care directive provides instructions regarding the medical treatment that an individual wants in the event that he or she becomes incapacitated.

Even though estate planning typically is not a favorite activity, it is a critical one. Without a properly created estate plan, an individual's assets may not end up in the intended hands when he or she passes away. An experienced attorney can provide the direction needed to put together trusts, wills and other estate planning documents in Virginia with confidence.

Source:, "Estate Planning Checklist: Easy Stress-Free Steps For Getting Organized", Michele Chandler, March 30, 2018

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