Estate Planning Lawyer

Hiring An Estate Planning Lawyer Guide

There are some who are not as confident about discussing their last will and testament as they feel like it is too early or too morbid to talk about. If you come to think of it, planning your estate can be the greatest gift you can give your loved ones, hence, doing it early on is what you have to do.

Estate planning is the process wherein the person will decide on what will happen to his/her assets and wealth when they die or when they become incapacitated. Other than protecting his assets while he lives and after he passes away, an estate plan can also help his family avoid discussions and probate, and also, minimize the tax indebted by his estate.

The planning of the estate involves a wide range of discussions and topics, and apart from that, the laws are so complex and they also vary from one state to another, these being said, it is strongly recommended that you hire a lawyer with your estate planning to ensure accuracy of the execution and convenience.

There are so many things you need to know about estate planning and estate planning lawyers, to further discuss, read below.

What Is Estate Planning?

If you want all your wishes to be honored and your family and loved ones protected after you pass this earth, then there is no reason why you won’t accomplish estate planning today.

Apart from certifying that all your assets are divided rightfully, an estate plan can also help in the following:

  • Lessen the taxes to be paid when the property will be transferred from the deceased to his heirs
  • To avoid your loved ones paying expenses related to probate court
  • Impose the funeral arrangements you wished to
  • Set the type of lifelong medical care that will be administered to you in case you are not able to communicate what you want

What Is Included In An Estate Plan?

So, what are the elements included in an estate plan? Here are some of them:

  • Trust or will

A trust or will is a document that states how a person divides his property and how guardianship of a minor child must be handled after his/her death.

A living trust lets a person place their wealth in a “trust”, and this wealth will then be transferred to the beneficiaries through a chosen representative when they die.

By creating a trust, beneficiaries can avoid paying expensive estate taxes.

  • Letter of intent

This document is left to a beneficiary or an executor outlining what must be done with particular assets after incapacitation or death.

  • Beneficiary designations

This is where the individual chooses who will inherit their wealth after death.

  • Healthcare power of attorney

This is a legal document that is made when a person wants to assign someone to be his/her representative in the event that they can no longer make decisions about their health care.

  • A durable power of attorney
  • This allows a person to designate someone to handle their financial and legal issues in the event they become disabled.
  • Guardianship designations

This gives the parents of a minor the opportunity to grant another person guardianship of a child’s property in case of incapacitation or death.

With everything above, it is the lawyers that can assist with all the details of the planning, from giving advice to ensuring that all your wishes will be granted after death.

The lawyers are tasked to draft wills and trusts together with power of attorney documents.

They will work to make sure assets and life savings are safe from the creditors, and that the estate taxes can be minimized or completely avoided. The professionals in this field of expertise are also there to assist in passing the property to the heirs accordingly.

Apart from the things mentioned above, estate planning lawyers can also help in the following:

  • Create a last will and testament that is hard to contest after you pass
  • Help you start a living trust or testamentary trust
  • To move assets in your trust and manage trust administration
  • Nominate guardians for your minor children
  • Assist with wealth transfers and tax planning
  • Create a plan for charitable giving
  • Plan for situations that are unexpected, such as the beneficiary’s death
  • Create a living will that outlines your end-of-life resolutions
  • Give someone a power of attorney for health care or financial decisions
  • Answer all questions related to local laws and estate planning

With everything mentioned above, the next thing you need to know is the benefits you can get once you decide to hire an estate planning lawyer.

Benefits Of Hiring An Estate Planning Lawyer

Yes, their service does not come free of charge, but knowing all the benefits they can provide, there is no reason not to do so.

If you think you can do estate planning all by yourself, read the benefits you can get if you decide on hiring one:

They can help you save money and time

Some think that estate planning is only meant for those who are wealthy and have many assets, you have to think again. Estate planning is best for everyone to take advantage of, as this is a great way to help you save money and time.

By hiring a lawyer, you are not only protecting your assets but your loved ones too. They are here to make all your decisions regarding your estate fair and within the law.

Asset protection

If you want your assets to be protected, then you must consider hiring a lawyer expert in this field. Lawyers working on estate planning can protect your wealth and also, your family’s future even after your death.

They can assist you in maneuvering complex legal policies to make sure that all your assets and wealth are protected properly.

The money you will spend to pay a lawyer for your estate planning will truly pay off not only today but more so in the future.

To have peace of mind

They can provide you with peace of mind in so many ways. First is they can assist in creating a comprehensive and complete estate plan that will take in consideration your eccentric financial and personal circumstances.

Second, these professionals can assist in keeping your estate plan updated together with any change in your circumstances and situations.

Third, they are here to give guidance and support in the event you want to amend anything on your estate plan.

Custom tailored solutions

They will be there to provide you with options that are best suited to your situation. They will be there to create a plan that is suitable to your needs and circumstances. Their support and guidance all throughout the process should be good enough to help you execute a plan perfectly suited to your demands and specific conditions.

Tax efficiency

If you were able to hire a good lawyer, you will be able to structure your wealth in the best way and lessen the tax you need to pay. They are trusted and can truly help you plan the future of your loved ones even after you pass.

When to hire an estate lawyer

There are some people who can benefit from working with a lawyer for their estate planning, but in some cases, hiring may not be necessary.

Do you need to hire a lawyer or not? Here are some of the things you need to know:

-You are an owner of a small business or you are a business partner who needs assistance with a business succession planning

– You have out-of-state assets or property. Passing a property or any asset to someone else can be tricky, particularly if you are crossing state boundaries, especially since 2 states might have different legal requirements or tax codes for transferring assets.

– You have assets or properties outside your state

– You want to leave an asset to someone who is not a citizen. Planning to make a non-legal US citizen/resident as an executor may cause problems. Non-residents may find it impossible to get a tax ID so they can open an estate account.

– You have the desire to leave a legacy. Lawyers specializing in estate planning can assist you in setting up charitable trusts meant for your donations, which by the way can also allow you to enjoy a tax break.

– If you are planning to disinherit one of your immediate family members, hiring a lawyer is necessary, especially as this is challenging in some areas, such as community property states, wherein you together with your spouse share ownership of particular assets.

– You have another family, and you want to give some of your wealth to a stepparent, half-sibling or stepchild. These people won’t take any of your wealth unless you take deliberate steps in estate planning to make sure they are included in it.

– You have a loved one or family member who needs to be qualified for government needs or have special needs. If you give care for anyone who requires special needs, the lawyer can assist you in appointing the right guardian for them and create a plan that has special needs trust in it.

Finding The Right Estate Planning Attorney To Hire

Now that you found out that hiring an estate planning attorney is what you need to consider, the next thing you have to think about is who among the many estate planning attorneys would you hire. Sure, there are many attorneys out there specializing in estate planning, but just so you know, not all of them are equally good at what they do.

If you are unsure or do not know exactly where to start, here are some of the things that can help you spot on the best estate planning lawyer to hire:

Create a list of possible lawyers you can hire

Create a list that has good names of lawyers in it, some of the places where you can find them are:

– Referrals from people around you, particularly family and friends

– Referrals from accountants or financial advisors

– Local probate courts

– County, state, and local bar associations

Make sure that you are looking for attorneys who are specializing in estate law. This may sound obvious, yet, you need to know that hiring a lawyer who has a different specialty may not help you 100% with your plans.

All lawyers are required to get a passing grade in the bar exam so they can work in your area. This information is something you can get from the state bar association.

You might be wondering if you can put on your list lawyers who have ads on radio or TV, the answer is it depends. But if you come to think of it, they won’t be as vocal about their identity as with their services if in the first place, they are not legitimate real estate lawyers. But needless to say, if you want to be sure, you may work the extra mile by digging for more information about them on the internet.

Talk to the lawyers on your list

This may sound like a bit of legwork, but this should be done, especially since you will be working closely with them and opening to them your personal life and assets too. You are about to share with them information about your assets and your plans when you die, hence, creating a very strong relationship is necessary if you want the process to be easy and comforting.

Some of the questions you can ask your target lawyer are:

– How long have you been in this job?

– Where did you finish your law education?

– What are the ways I can contact you?

– Can I contact you directly or do I need to go through someone else? Is there a point of contact that will handle my account or do you have a secretary to filter our communication?

– How do you charge? Fixed, hourly, etc.

If you are planning to work with a huge law firm, you need to know if you will be working exclusively with just one lawyer. You have to make sure that confusion on who is handling your account should not arise, ever.

You have to make sure that you are hiring the lawyer you are most comfortable working with and who won’t charge you too expensively.

Estate Attorney
Author: Estate Attorney

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