Although it can be daunting and uncomfortable to think about, at some point you need to handle end-of-life matters. It’s important not to leave things until the last minute or to chance. Creating estate planning documents, including wills, trusts, health care directives, and powers of attorney is one of the most important things you can do to ensure your wishes will be honored when you die, or if you become unable to manage your affairs. Working with an estate planning attorney to prepare and help execute your legal documents is the best way to prepare for the future.
What Does an Estate Planning Attorney Do?
An estate planning attorney is a lawyer who specializes in all types of end–of-life matters. They can help you:
They can help you:
- Set up your will and name an executor to oversee your will
- Establish a trusts for your assets and designate beneficiaries
- Protect the assets of your retirement plan like your 401K
- Create an advanced healthcare directive or plan for your long-term care
- Establish Power Of Attorney, who can make financial or medical decisions on your behalf
- Appoint a legal guardian for any dependents
- Create a succession plan for any businesses you own
An estate planning attorney may also distribute property and close out any financial dealings after your death, according to your instructions.
The Benefits of Working with an Estate Planning Attorney
1. Update documents when appropriate.
Wills, trusts, and other estate planning documents are not a one-and-done event. You will need to update your plan in the event of life changes such as marriage, divorce, or having children, or developments in your financial situation. Your estate planning attorney will periodically review your documents to determine whether any updates are necessary given your goals and wishes.
2. They can guide you through difficult situations.
An estate planning attorney has the expertise and objective perspective to guide you through potentially difficult issues, such as how to divide assets equally among your family, or how to change your will after a divorce.
3. They will defend your wishes.
An attorney may act as an interpreter of your documents, as estate planning language can be complex and confusing. If a disagreement among your family or beneficiaries arises after your passing, they can clarify your intentions and make sure that your wishes are carried out the way you would have wanted. This can help calm disputes and avoid family conflict.
4. They have comprehensive knowledge of state laws.
Probate and trust laws are state-specific, and they may change over time. Working with an estate planning lawyer gives you peace of mind knowing that your plan fits within the parameters of state law.
5. They can provide some accounting advice.
Your attorney will review your assets and make both legal and financial recommendations. If any assets in your estate, such as a rental property, CDs, or mutual funds, generate income after your death, state and federal income taxes will need to be paid. An estate planning attorney can help you plan for these fees and look for potential tax savings for your beneficiaries.
Planning For Your Future
Everyone can benefit from having a written plan in place to ensure their assets are preserved and protected as they age and after their death. Our experienced attorneys are here to ensure your assets are handled with care, your children are provided for, and to minimize the tax burden on your estate. Call us to schedule a free consultation.