Virginia Estate Planning Attorney Comments on How to Put One’s Legal Affairs in Order in the New Year

Law Firm Newswire



Fairfax, VA (Law Firm Newswire) February 11, 2016 – One of the best things a person can do in the New Year is put their legal affairs in order. This is because life is so unpredictable, and it is impossible to know if and when someone might become incapacitated and unable to manage their own affairs, including taking care of their children and making decisions concerning health care.

The estate planning process can include a will that identifies the beneficiaries of assets upon the testator’s death, and specific documents that will help loved ones make important decisions in the event of the testator’s incapacity. One of the necessary legal documents is a will or pour-over will with a revocable trust. Someone who has children can designate in a will the selected guardian of the children. If the testator has a small estate, then a simple will may be sufficient. However, if the estate and assets are complicated, then a pour-over will along with a trust might be a better option.

“It is important to create a well-crafted estate plan so that the testator’s wishes concerning the beneficiaries of the estate, and the designation of the power of attorney in the event of incapacity, will be carried out,” said prominent Vienna, Virginia, estate planning attorney Lisa McDevitt.

It is recommended that the testator have a will drafted and updated to reflect any changes that have occurred. In so doing, the testator is compelled to take stock of the assets, including digital assets, such as PayPal, and implement a system for the executor to access all assets and relevant documents.

The testator is also advised to have a general power of attorney, which is a document that specifies the person in charge of handling the testator’s affairs in the event of incapacity. This individual is responsible for paying bills, depositing checks, moving assets and providing a signature on legal documents. Those who are serving in the military may appreciate a general power of attorney when they require a spouse or relative to manage their affairs during times of deployment.

Furthermore, an advance medical directive and living will with organ-tissue designation are useful documents in case the testator becomes incapacitated because of an accident or illness. If the testator is going through a medical procedure that prevents him or her from making decisions regarding health care, it is best to specify in advance who will make those medical decisions. A living will can be used to indicate the time at which the testator no longer wishes to be kept artificially alive, and whether any of the testator’s organs or tissues are to be donated or used for research. In Virginia, the advance medical directive can be registered online at

Moreover, in Virginia, a document that is often prepared is a burial designation. The testator can give loved ones guidance and direction by putting in writing any wishes or preferences concerning the end of life, including whether there should be cremation or an open casket service with a church service. These can be included in either the living will or burial designation.

For more detailed information, contact an estate planning attorney.

Learn more at