The list of reasons supporting the consideration of consulting with an “Estate Planning Attorney” is long and an important consideration by those of us wanting to assure that our assets get divided and passed on to our loved ones and others in a way that reflects your wishes.
It may look like a term for people of considerate wealth, but everyone has an “estate.”
In fact, your car, home, other real estate, investments, checking account, and even furniture and other personal possession comprise your estate. Naturally, you cannot keep these things when you pass away, but you can control how your estate is given to the loved ones and organizations you care about. In short, estate planning is a clear set of instructions that dictate whom you want to receive something of yours, what they’ll be receiving, and when and how they’ll receive these items. An “Estate Planning Attorney“ plays a key role in ensuring that your estate is fully and clearly drafted, and for when that day comes, an attorney provides proper management and distribution of the estate.
Importance of Estate Planning
It’s not easy to plan for death, but we have also seen, first hand, how an improperly managed estate can create complications for the surviving family members. Likewise, without an estate, the respective state’s Probate Laws may then control and determine the whom, what, when, and how of your estate. Effectively planning and estate administration isn’t an expensive process, and regardless of your assets, you may find endless benefits for you, your family and loved ones, and others. This is especially true when setting up a trust, for example, that allows significant tax benefits for the assets you wish to pass on.
The following is a list of some of the common practice areas by those Law Firms specializing in Estate Planning.
Charitable Trusts: An irrevocable trust where your assets are given over or used to establish a charitable foundation. Includes complex tax breaks for the donor, and can provide lifelong income for family.
Contested Wills: After death, surviving family members may contest the making of a trust or will. Homer Law has extensive experience in will contest and estate litigation to ensure your wishes are properly administered.
Health Care Directives: These comprise several types of directives for end-of-life care and health care for when you’re unable to make decisions by yourself.
Last Will & Testament: The most common, and essential, component of an estate plan. Last wills and testaments name the executor of the estate to, according to your wishes, distribute assets among loved ones and organizations.
Life Insurance Trusts: An irrevocable, non-amendable trust that gives you greater control over your life insurance policies and the benefits paid by them.
Living Trusts: A living trust helps avoid complex, costly, and time-consuming probate processes. It also eliminates the requirement for public notices while streamlining the distribution of assets.
Power of Attorney for Property: A legal document that transfers legal right to an attorney or agent for management of your property if you are unable to do so (either through disability or death).
QTIP Trusts: Used by married couples to ensure unlimited marital deductions while guaranteeing that assets pass down to children upon death of the survivor.
Special Needs Trusts: Protects the inheritance of a disabled person while ensuring that, upon receiving the inheritance, the disabled person does not lose access to essential government benefits.
Supplemental Needs Trusts: Similar to a special needs trusts, but allows the establishment and funding by someone other than the Beneficiary or spouse.
By examining your assets and defining a plan that will best protect your family and loved ones, you will be giving yourself as well as your family considerable peace of mind.
No estate is too big or too small; everyone has an estate and when the time comes—it is a “when” and not an “if”—ensuring greater financial security and peace-of-mind to your family is one of the most selfless, loving things that you can do. Furthermore, estate planning is not solely for the retired. Mortality or the possibility of being unable to decide matters for yourself can come at any time, and it is essential to be prepared.