Whether you’re creating your own estate plan or need help moving an estate through probate, working with an estate planning attorney is a great way to get the job done right the first time.
Some people are hesitant to hire a lawyer, especially because you can (theoretically) write your own will and manage the probate process on your own. However, a lawyer’s skills and legal expertise are invaluable: They can save you time, money and hassle, especially when you’re dealing with the death of a loved one.
Here are some of the most common tasks an estate planning attorney can help you accomplish:
- Writing a will: It’s true that you can write your own will, but it’s not always a good idea. Wills are legal documents that have to meet certain standards before they’re binding. If you miss any of those technicalities, your will may be thrown out in court after you die. At that point, you won’t be able to do anything about it, and it could negatively affect your loved ones. Working with a lawyer ensures that your will meets all requirements. You’ll also get advice on the best way to accomplish your goals, whether that’s providing funds for your minor children and surviving spouse, donating to charity and more.
- Setting up trusts: An estate planning attorney can also help you create trusts. Assets held in trust don’t need to go through the probate process, which is a relief for most beneficiaries in their time of grief. They can also help you plan for Medicare eligibility and limit your tax liability as you age.
- Avoiding probate: Most people know that they should try to avoid probate, even if they don’t know why. While probate isn’t inherently bad, it can be time-consuming and complex, especially if someone tries to contest a will. The fewer assets you have to send through probate, the better—and a lawyer can help you avoid that.
- Managing probate: If you were named the executor or personal representative of someone else’s estate, you’ll be in charge of managing the whole process. Many people simply don’t have the time to administer and close out an estate. Your estate planning attorney can help you understand your rights and obligations. In some cases, they may be able to manage the entire process.
- Establishing powers of attorney: When planning end-of-life care, granting powers of attorney is usually wise. Powers of attorney can be used to make financial or medical decisions on your behalf, should you become incapacitated.
- Limiting tax liability: Finally, your estate planning attorney can help you limit your estate’s tax liability. This is usually applicable to larger estates only, but it’s always good to strategically plan for the future, no matter the size of your estate.
These are just a few of the tasks an estate planning attorney can handle. If you have questions about what a good lawyer can do for your estate plan, call Ruben J. Padron, PA today.
Categorised in: Estate Planning