Estate Planning

Q: If I die without a Will, does the State of Virginia get everything?

A: No, but the laws of intestacy may result in your estate going to persons that you may not want to inherit your property.

Q: Doesn’t my spouse automatically receive everything I own at my death?

A: Not necessarily. It depends on how your assets are titled, whether you have children from a prior marriage and other contractual agreements.

Q: Should I have a Trust?

A:  There are several different types of Trusts.  Whether you need a Trust depends on whether you have a beneficiary with special needs, whether you have an estate beyond a certain size or whether you own property in more than one state.  However, each person’s situation must be evaluated to determine whether a Trust is an appropriate estate planning tool.

Q: If I move from one state to another, should I have a new Will prepared?

A: If you have a major life change, such as a marriage, divorce, death of a potential beneficiary of your estate, or you move to another state, you should have an estate planning attorney evaluate your estate plan.

Q: Do I need a durable power of attorney?

A: If you become incapacitated, a durable power of attorney will enable a trusted person of your choosing to make financial decisions for you.  Otherwise, a court proceeding may be required to have someone appointed to manage your affairs.

Q: Why do I need a medical power of attorney?

A: If you become unable to make medical decisions for yourself, it is important to have an individual that you have selected to make your medical decisions.  Otherwise, a judge may have to appoint a decision-maker.

Q: What is an advance medical directive?

A: It is one document that incorporates a medical power of attorney and living will.