Estate administration and probate in Washington goes beyond the actions taken after you die. An effective estate plan also accounts for your estate when you are alive but neutralized. In some cases, travelers need others to handle their businesses or estates. Those who end up in the hospital need directives to activate. In order for their wealth or finances to remain intact, they need someone to temporarily replace them. You should make provisions for incapacity as part of your estate plan.
Incapacity in full view
Incapacity happens when you can no longer make life, financial or organizational decisions. The reasons people become incapacitated are vast. For example, you’re struck by a car, and the care you need leaves you in a coma for two months.
How to plan for uncertainty
Estate administration and probate exist to handle the estate of those who are dead; when you’re alive, incapacity planning prepares you for difficult, unforeseen times. You can prepare for uncertainty with the tools of estate planning. These financially strategic avenues allow others to handle your estate. They also put directives in place that are activated the instant you become incapacitated. Here’s a quick overview:
- Powers of attorney: A POA gives someone authority to act on your behalf.
- Irrevocable trusts: These trusts can’t be changed, so their directives get honored even if you come up missing or ill.
- DNR letters: Some people live with chronic illnesses and don’t want to be resuscitated if they go into cardiac arrest.
- Guardianships: Parents should choose a guardian in the case they can no longer parent.
Estate administration and probate in Washington
If you have no plan, your assets and finances become subject to a public court, and this could put everything in the hands of a conservator. When you make arrangements ahead of time, you have more control over how your affairs will be handled.