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Estate and Elder Law

John Dedon On Estate Planning: Planning Not Just For The ‘Very Wealthy’

Russ Alan Prince, for Forbes, published an article on October 13, titled "The Very Wealthy Embrace Severe Disaster Contingency Planning." The article outlined how today, "the exceptionally wealthy [are] vulnerable to geopolitical instability, market volatility, career criminals, and even unscrupulous associates." According to the article, how do the wealthy protect themselves? With a team of elite advisors, possessing expertise and training, who prepare for whatever crisis may arise (in theory).

How should the rest of us prepare for today's hazards? Well, perhaps we can't afford a team of elite advisors. But how about this for starters?

- Insurance: adequate life insurance, health insurance, disability insurance and property and casualty insurance, including umbrella coverage.

- Sufficient savings to pay the bills for a six month to one year period in the event of an illness or job loss.

- Basic estate documents, i.e., wills, revocable trusts, powers of attorney and medical directives.

- If there is tangible property (jewelry, china, items of sentimental value), that you intend to leave to individuals, such items and individuals should be specifically identified to avoid hard feelings later.

- And among a group consisting of your adult children, other family members, friends and advisors, one or more of them know where you keep your important records so that, upon the unexpected, your family is not engaged in detective work to find key documents and assets.

Read more discussion of estate planning topics affecting Virginia residents and U.S. citizens at Dedon on Estate Planning.