Benjamin Franklin once said that only death and taxes were the two certain things in life.
While preparing for death may not be the most joyful task, if you have dependents and loved ones, it’s essential to get your financial and logistical affairs. This will be invaluable in the event of the worst-case scenario.
An estate planning lawyer can help best advise you with developing a living trust, manage estate taxes, and ensure that your assets are safe.
Let’s get into it!
Create and Customize Your Will
Nowadays, you can draft and print out a template will and fill in the blanks. Many sites offer this option for free or at a very low-cost. With that said, many people and their families don’t fit within this generic, cookie-cutter mold.
If you have a unique family dynamic, employment situation, or financial means, you’ll probably need the help from a professional estate planning a lawyer. You don’t want to utilize a free will if it won’t be beneficial or uphold in court.
Moreover, while some people only need a simple will, others will need different kinds of trusts. Your lawyer will be able to recommend and provide you with the appropriate legal documents you need to prepare for your long-term plan.
Avoid Estate and Probate Taxes
If you don’t want to put your estate through probate, lawyers can help implement strategies, like joint property ownership, gifts, and death beneficiaries, to manage just that. They can also help set you up with trusts, which is one of the most common ways to avoid costly probate and estate taxes.
With that said, estate planning laws are continually changing. Chances are, you aren’t up-to-date on the newest laws in your state, and that’s where a lawyer can help. They know what’s valid and what isn’t.
How An Estate Planning Lawyer Works
Typically, these lawyers charge a flat fee to collaborate and create the appropriate legal documents (such as your durable power of attorney, wills, or trusts). Some are employed on an hourly basis to maintain and update your estate. They can also help benefit disputes when needed.
Estate planning lawyers also provide guidance and legal support for the assigned power of attorney in the event of your death. Most will be able to help your estate avoid probate, but if they cannot, they will help navigate the probate process.
If a beneficiary decides to contest the will and sue your estate, the lawyer will provide extra protection. This is invaluable as lawsuits can swiftly deplete the estate funds.
Preparing for your death may feel morbid, but it’s one of the best ways you can provide you and your family with a practical peace of mind. Planning ahead and consulting with the right kind of lawyer can make this process easier for everyone involved.
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