Cook, Susan P Attorney

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117 Commercial St NE, Salem, OR 97301

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About Cook, Susan P Attorney

Elder Law/Estate Planning • What is estate planning? You may not be thinking ahead to estate planning right now, but there are some quick and easy tasks you should take care of to make sure your future is in order, even if you don't have a lot of assets and aren't all that worried about the future. Estate planning is preparing a plan for transferring property acquired during one’s lifetime at the time of one’s death. Your goals in estate planning should be to make known how you want your possessions to go to your loved ones upon your death. Some tools of estate planning include wills, powers of attorney, trusts and joint ownership of assets. Why is it important to prepare a will? If you pass away without a will, you are said to be intestate. In this case, your property is distributed according to the laws of your state. By having a valid will, you can control who get what, rather than allowing the state to make those choices for you. Property reverts to the state when a person dies without heirs. You need a will if you: •Are married •Have children (you will specify who will be their guardian) •Have been divorced •Are married to a non-U.S. citizen •Have a partner, but not in a state-recognized marriage How to make a will? Anyone who is age 18 or older and of sound mind can make a legally valid will. A simple will is a short document that lists the people you want to inherit and what you want each to receive. There are some states where a handwritten will is legally valid, but it should be witnessed like other wills. Because a handwritten will often is easier to contest or question, we don’t recommend going this route. Formal wills take a short amount of time to prepare. We recommend working with a legal professional.

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