The inevitability of death is something many people avoid thinking about. However, it’s essential to ensure your final wishes are outlined.
An estate planning attorney helps you create legally sound and enforceable documents. They can also help protect your assets from legal challenges and disputes.
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They Help You Create a Will
If you die without a will, state law determines how your assets are distributed. This process can be lengthy, expensive, and confusing for your loved ones. It also risks your assets being misdistributed to people or charities you don’t want to receive.
A qualified estate planning attorney will work with you to create a will, trust, and other legal documents that reflect your wishes. They will ensure that all documents comply with the laws in your state, and they’ll help you avoid any potential legal issues or disputes.
A good estate planning attorney will welcome questions, provide answers you understand (not use legalese that’s hard to translate), and make you feel comfortable.
They Help You Create a Trust
Many states have varying laws on trusts and estates. An experienced estate planning attorney will know the nuances of your state’s laws and regulations, which are important when creating a trust. They will also know to create a plan that reduces or eliminates taxes for you and your beneficiaries.
An estate planning attorney will also be able to explain legal terms that are difficult for families to understand. This can be a huge benefit as it will help ease the stress and confusion that can come with the death or incapacity of an individual.
When interviewing potential attorneys, ask about their experience and education in estate planning. Determining their fee structure and whether they charge hourly or flat fees is also good. A flat fee is often best as it will allow you to budget for the cost of services. It will also make the process less stressful for your family.
They Help You Create a Power of Attorney
In a power of attorney, you grant a person legal authority to act on your behalf in case of your death or physical incapacity. It is wise to choose a primary and backup and clearly state your wishes. A good estate planning attorney will help you draft legally sound documents that comply with relevant laws and regulations. They will also ensure your documents are tailored to your unique circumstances and goals.
Depending on your situation, your attorney may bill you using either an hourly rate or a flat fee. The latter method lets you know how much you will be paying upfront.
An estate planning attorney can also help you structure your assets to minimize taxes and other fees. They can also help you create trusts and limited liability companies to protect your assets from creditors and litigation. They can even help you establish heirlooms and collections as specific gifts to individuals or charities of your choice.
They Help You Create a Living Will
A good estate planning attorney will help you create a living will that defines who should make decisions for you when you cannot do so. This is especially important since major life events such as divorce, remarriage, and children may change how you want your assets handled.
They’ll also help you inventory your financial and property information, including bank accounts, credit card balances, real estate, investment properties, and family heirlooms. This will allow them to accurately determine how much of your estate should go to specific people.
They’ll also ensure that your documents comply with state law, which can vary by region. Doing this will reduce the risk of legal challenges or disputes after your death, which can be costly for your loved ones. They can also advise you on protecting your assets from potential creditors or lawsuits. This is especially helpful for people with complex financial situations.