What do you know about hiring an estate planning attorney? You can read about finding a reliable and trustworthy lawyer for your estate.
According to a recent survey, about 1 in 3 Americans have an estate plan. And while most people don’t realize the value of estate planning, it is one of the important elements of a comprehensive financial plan. To venture into it, you’ll need the help of an estate planning attorney.
The attorney has expertise in various areas of law, such as wills, trusts, probate, tax law, and property law. They work closely with you to understand your unique circumstances, goals, and asset distribution wishes.
Estate planning attorneys help you navigate complex legal issues, minimize estate taxes, and avoid probate when possible. Here’s a detailed breakdown of the reasons you should hire one:
1. Better Asset Distribution
An attorney can help with asset distribution as part of the estate planning process. They’ll determine how your beneficiaries will inherit the assets upon death or incapacitation. They can advise you on life insurance policies, retirement accounts, or payable-on-death accounts.
The lawyer can draft wills and trusts for the assets. They can help you file the necessary paperwork and value the estate.
And if you have a trust, the attorney can help administer it. They can assist the trustee in fulfilling their responsibilities and obligations. Lawyers handle the necessary paperwork and ensure a smooth transfer of assets to the beneficiaries.
Work with an estate planning lawyer if you have assets to give your loved ones. The legal expert will honor your wishes while distributing them. So, the entire process will be legal and efficient.
2. Get Objectivity and Peace of Mind
Making decisions about your estate can be emotional and challenging. An estate planning attorney can offer an objective perspective. As such, they help you make clear, rational decisions.
The attorney will consider your goals, family dynamics, financial situation, and applicable laws. They can provide an objective analysis of your situation and recommend appropriate strategies. These recommendations will help you achieve your estate planning objectives.
The legal counsel can help you make informed decisions about important matters by offering an objective perspective. These matters comprise wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and other estate planning documents.
They can offer legal advice and explain the potential consequences of different choices. This way, there will be proper documentation and legal grounds for enforcing your wishes.
The legal expert will work with you to understand your unique circumstances and goals. Ultimately, your preferences and values will guide the decision-making process.
3. Mitigate Legal Issues
An estate plan can lead to legal issues without proper execution. As a result, it may cause confusion, disagreements, and potentially lengthy court proceedings among the surviving loved ones.
The attorney will draft legally sound and enforceable documents. These documents can include wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and healthcare directives.
They ensure these documents comply with relevant laws and regulations. As such, they can help prevent future legal challenges or disputes.
You need to structure your estate plan to protect assets from potential creditors or lawsuits. The expert can help you set up a trust or establish limited liability companies. They can also recommend legal tools to shield assets and reduce the risk of legal issues.
The attorney can offer legal representation and guidance if there are conflicts or disputes related to the estate plan. They can mediate disputes among beneficiaries. You can count on them to also represent your interests in court if necessary.
Overall, their advice can help anticipate and prevent potential legal issues. As such, you will have a legally valid estate plan.
4. Reduce Tax Liabilities
Without proper planning, estate taxes can eat up a huge portion of your estate’s value. An estate planning attorney can offer strategies to reduce or eliminate these taxes. So, you get to preserve more wealth for your beneficiaries.
The lawyer can structure the transfer of assets in a tax-efficient manner. They can advise on the use of tools that can help reduce estate taxes. These tools may include irrevocable life insurance trusts (ILITs) or qualified personal residence trusts (QPRTs).
You can transfer assets during your lifetime to reduce the size of the taxable estate with the lawyer’s help. The legal counsel will recommend the most advantageous gifting techniques.
The lawyer can guide you in making charitable donations for tax benefits. They will help you create charitable remainder trusts (CRTs) or charitable lead trusts (CLTs). These solutions offer income tax deductions or estate tax reductions.
And if you own a closely-held business, the attorney can develop a succession plan. The plan will reduce tax liabilities.
5. Shorten the Probate Process
Probate is quite a lengthy and expensive process. Estate planning lawyers can help you structure your estate to avoid probate. So it is easier for your loved ones to administer your estate after you pass away.
The lawyer will advise you to create a revocable living trust. Such a trust can provide instructions for the management and distribution of assets. As such, it allows for a smoother and quicker transfer.
An attorney can prepare all relevant documents in advance. This way, you’ll avoid potential disputes or delays during probate. They’ll also ensure proper asset titling and beneficiary designations for the same effect.
6. Benefit from Ongoing Legal Advice
An estate planning professional can offer ongoing legal advice to you. That is beyond the initial estate planning process.
Estate planning is an ongoing process that may need adjustments and updates over time. Laws and personal circumstances can change over time. So, it is important to review and update estate planning documents periodically.
The lawyer can help you stay informed about legal changes affecting your estate plan. You’ll need them to update the plan to remain current and aligned with your goals.
An attorney can advise you on how family changes affect your estate plan. They’ll also recommend appropriate actions to reflect the new circumstances. These actions include revising beneficiaries, appointing new guardians for minor children, or adjusting distribution plans.
Hire an Estate Planning Attorney Today
Overall, an estate planning attorney can help protect your assets. They ensure a smooth transition of your estate according to your wishes. And since the specifics of when to hire an estate planning lawyer can vary, consult with one if you’re unsure.
Count on Johnson/Turner Legal for help navigating legal disputes. Our firm’s flat-fee pricing model and team-based approach apply to estate planning, family law, and bankruptcy cases. Book a quick guidance call with us today to get yourself started with our legal services.