Make no mistake. If you are looking for an estate planning attorney, you should find a lawyer who focuses his or her practice on estate planning. Whether you have an estate worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, or millions, you need the services of the right professional in order to avoid future legal complications.
Dealing with the passing of a loved one can be an emotionally stressful time. Your family can subject to additional stress if you don’t have a solid plan in place that communicates who would like to receive your property. That’s because without the proper legally binding estate plan that dictates who should receive your assets, your family will have to go to probate court. Probate court can belong and expensive and create drama between family members. Especially if they begin to quarrel over your assets. To avoid situations like this, it is best to create a comprehensive plan ahead of time.
Why DIY estate plans may not be the best option
There are many estate planning options available. You’re not just restricted to the typical will. Now, a lot of people are under the impression that they don’t need the services of an estate planning attorney because they see do-it-yourself services advertised on the internet. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Will, trust, and estate law is complex and changes from state to state. DIY kits are often generic. An improperly drafted estate plan can cause legal problems for your family after you pass away. That is why it’s always best to consult with an estate planning attorney in your state first. They can advise you on how to transfer your assets to your family in the most efficient way possible, how to protect your family in case you become incapacitated before you die, and how to preserve the value of your estate by minimizing estate taxes in accordance with state and federal law.
Estate planning is an incredibly important step to take to preserve your legacy and protect your family. Because it’s so important, we want to provide you with some useful insights about to help you throughout your selection process.
What does an estate planning attorneydo?
First, it’s good to get a high-level view of what an estate planning attorney does for a living. An estate planning attorney focuses their practice on will, trust, and estate law. They help individuals create comprehensive, legally binding plans that help you transfer your assets to your family in the most efficient way possible, protect your family in case you become incapacitated before you die, and preserve the value of your estate by minimizing estate taxes in accordance with state and federal law.
Find an attorney who focuses on will, trust, and estate law
There are many different types of lawyers that practice different types of law. You wouldn’t go to a knee surgeon if you are having heart problems, you would go to a heart doctor. Similarly, you wouldn’t go to a lawyer who practices criminal law if you need an estate plan. As we stated earlier, estate law is very complex, and it changes from state to state. When it comes to transferring your assets, you shouldn’t leave anything to chance. Pick a professional who deals with these estate laws on a daily basis to advise you properly.
Have specific goals to speak about with your estate planning attorney
A lot of people go about picking a service provider with a rather broad impression of the kind of results they’re looking for. Most people think estate planning is just getting a will and often times, this is where the conversation with an estate planning attorney begins.
But what if you want to avoid putting your family through probate court?
What if you want to plan to make sure that your family will have access to your finances to pay the bills if youbecome incapacitated?
What if you have specific wishes about your medical care if you get into an accident and can’t make medical decisions on your own?
What if you want to make sure that the value of your assets is preserved by minimizing your estate taxes?
A will can’t help you achieve these goals, but other estate planning documents can. These can be
very important goals and objectives that you may want to speak with your estate planning attorney about so he can create the most comprehensive plan possible to protect you and your family.
The cost of an estate plan shouldn’t be the only consideration
The cost of not doing an estate plan often times is much more expensive than doing some simple planning ahead of time. That’s because your family will be forced to go through probate which often times results in your estate incurring expensive legal fees. Additionally, your assets may be divided in a way that was not in accordance with your wishes. Lastly, depending on the size of your estate, it could be subject to estate taxes which will reduce the value that gets transferred to your heirs.
The costs associated with estate planning can vary depending on the size of your estate and the location and size of the law firm you are working with. Because everyone’s estate and estate planning goals are different, there is not a one-size-fits all price for an estate plan. Usually an estate planning attorney will offer an initial consultation to prospective clients. This allows you to get familiar with an attorney and explain what type of protection you want for your family and estate. This also gives the attorney an opportunity to understand the level of complexity to give you an accurate quote for the cost of your plan.
Understand the types of payment options
If cost is a big issue when it comes to finding a competent and highly specialized estate planning attorney, look for one who provides flexible payment options. Some charge by the hour, while others will charge a flat fee. An experienced estate planning attorney should be able to give you a flat fee quote after your initial consultation. Additionally, some attorneys will offer you the option to pay over time which helps reduce the upfront cost.
Estate planning is an important event in your life. Make sure you thoroughly understand what goals you are trying to achieve with your estate plan. Will, trust, and estate law can be complicated and changes depending on the state you live in. For this reason, it’s important that you work with an experienced professional who focuses their practice on estate planning.