A good estate planning attorney can save your family the stress and expense of court and family feuds that often arise when planning is avoided or done in a hasty fashion. A solid plan that you create (and not the default one provided by the state) will provide tremendous peace of mind to those who are left behind.
The sorrow of losing a loved one is more than enough for a family to experience, says NewsGram, in the article “4 Things You Must Know About Estate Planning.” Therefore, you had better develop a relationship with a capable and caring estate planning attorney to ensure that your estate is executed in a hassle-free manner.
Proper estate planning focuses on planning for how a client’s assets will be preserved, managed and distributed to their loved ones after their death. It also addresses how the person’s financial life, including their money and property, is to be managed in the event they become incapacitated because of an accident or illness. This is best done with the help of an experienced estate planning attorney.
Here the top 4 reasons you (yes, you) need an estate planning attorney to protect you and your loved ones:
1) Everyone needs an estate plan
Anyone who is of legal age and owns anything has an estate. An estate refers to anything of value that you own. It does not mean a $10 million mansion. A home, a car, bank accounts, retirement accounts and personal possessions make up an estate, regardless of their size or value. Once you have assets or if you have minor children, you need an estate plan. We don’t know when we are going to die, but we can be sure that if you have no estate plan, the state will determine who receives your assets, and it is done with none of the opportunities for cost savings and asset protection that an estate planning attorney can offer.
2) The estate planning attorney knows how all the relevant laws fit together
Estate planning crosses into several different legal practice areas. Property law, family law, tax planning, real estate, guardianship and other areas need to be addressed by an experienced professional who understands how these elements all work together. An estate planning attorney has a professional responsibility and the needed skills to truly help you.
However, they do more than just that. The estate planning attorney will help you fine-tune your wishes, gain clarity on what you want to happen during life and at death, and translate that into the legal documents that ensure your goals are accomplished.
3) Avoid probate
Depending on where you live, a court process known probate can be very expensive and time consuming. An estate planning attorney will help you plan to pass your assets to your spouse or the next generation free from probate. Probate is essentially a court process of authenticating your will, verifying that the assets in the will are correctly named, paying off any outstanding creditors and tax balances, and approving the distribution of the assets. With a good estate plan, you can make this a simple, inexpensive process, free from court intervention and public record of your affairs.
4) Minimize family conflict
Disagreements over estates, including personal possessions as well as money, routinely tear families apart. You don’t have to be wealthy or even a celebrity to have a family that is fractured over a misunderstanding or someone feeling like they were not treated fairly. This is another area where an experienced estate planning attorney can help bring you through the process of clarifying your wishes, with a deep dive into how your decisions may be received by various family members. In addition, having the file notes of an estate planning attorney can be very helpful in the event of conflict down the line. I have personally resolved multiple issues following a death that could have turned into conflicts based simply on reviewing my notes with the concerned parties.
To get started, contact an experienced estate planning attorney in your community. If you have an estate plan but haven’t reviewed it in more than a few years, it’s probably time for an update. A number of laws have changed on the federal level that may require some changes to your estate plan. If you have had any major life events, you also need a review.
Reference: NewsGram (June 5, 2019) “4 Things You Must Know About Estate Planning.”