Washington Office  |  425.450.5000 | California Office  |  858.592.0065

Estate Planning

Do I need a Will? This question has probably crossed your mind at one time or another.


If this is the case, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many people feel it is appropriate to put off creating a Last Will until they are older and have acquired significant personal assets. While age and personal wealth are key issues to contemplate in determining whether you should seek estate planning services, estate planning is more than the simple post-mortem distribution of personal assets, it is about planning for your loved ones.

Estate planning documents such as Last Wills and other estate planning tools, such as Powers Of Attorney, Health Care Directives, and Trusts are really for the benefit of loved ones left behind. Well-drafted documents can ensure that you appropriately answer such questions as: “What will happen to my children if both my spouse and I die at the same time? Who will take care of my elderly grandmother when I am gone? If I were in a coma, would I want to burden my spouse with the decision of whether to take me off of life support? How can I preserve my financial resources after I am gone so that my children have the opportunity to gain an education?” In short, proper estate planning can give you the piece of mind that your loved ones will be taken care of when you are gone. While planning ahead for your family’s well being is important, seeking estate planning advice is essential. Some people turn to online resources or “do-it-yourself” tools to meet their estate planning needs. Such estate planning forms can even be found in office supply stores. Although these resources have increased people’s knowledge of and access to estate planning, there is much more to estate planning than filling in the blanks and signing a form. Depending on the complexity of your estate, there are potentially hundreds of state and federal statutes and regulations, ranging in subject from custody to taxes, which may apply to your specific situation. “Do-it-yourself” documents cannot be tailored to meet your specific estate planning goals, wishes, and concerns.

Seeking estate planning advice and preparing a Last Will is something to think about whether you are 28 and single, or 64 and married with 5 chil-dren and 9 grandchildren. Regardless of what stage you are at in life, proper estate planning can help you deal with many difficult issues, issues that can be effectively planned for and dealt with ahead of time rather than be left for your grieving loved ones to deal with after you are gone. Putting your estate in order is about taking control of your life. Think about it. Good estate planning in the present can alleviate difficult and worrisome legal questions in the future. Not sure if you should have estate planning documents? Not sure if you should talk to an attorney? Take our quick quiz to see.

Take Our Quick Quiz

  1. Are you 18 years of age or older?
  2. Are you married?
  3. If yes to #2, do you own any sepa-rate property?
  4. Do you own any personal property?
  5. Do you have any children?
  6. If yes to #5, do you wish to choose a guardian for them?
  7. Do you own a home?
  8. Do you have specific wishes regarding the use of life support?
  9. Would you prefer to be buried or cremated?
  10. Do you wish to control the disposition of your assets?
  11. Do you wish to decide who will act as Personal Representative for your estate?
  12. Do you have any of the following: stocks, bonds, IRA accounts, bank accounts, or life insurance?
  13. Do you have any loved ones that require special needs?

If you answered “Yes” to at least two or more of these questions, you should consider seeking the advice of an Estate Planning Attorney. If you would like to discuss your estate planning needs with one of our Estate Planning Attorneys, please contact us.