Estate Planning Lawyers
Estate Planning Lawyers Devote their Time and Practice to Estate Planning
Many people think that things such as wills, trusts, estate plans, and estate planning lawyers are for the rich but they are for everyone who owns things.
Lots of people also mistakenly think that the very word ‘estate’ sums up someone with a lot of money and property, but an estate is simply a word used to describe your money and possessions, and yes, there are many people who do not have an estate.
What many people do not realize is that a simple estate plan drawn up by the best estate planning lawyers can spare a lot of frustration and chaos. Surely everyone wants to be sure that the things they own are properly distributed after death.
Think about your possessions and think of into whose hands they will fall when you are gone. If you do not specify who gets what, you will turn in your grave if you knew who had their hands on your possessions.
There are the means online to create an estate plan without the help of estate planning lawyers, however, with so much at stake, most people prefer to choose the services of the very best estate planning lawyers.
It can be tempting to make use of these cheap online service providers to prepare all your legal documents but it can be tedious, time-consuming, and costly in the long run when things all go wrong.
Estate Planning Lawyers keep your Finances from Creditors
After all, these attorneys work to ensure that your life’s savings and assets are not going to be gobbled up by creditors once you have passed.
If you do not want your estate to land up in the wrong hands, you have to consider the best estate planning lawyers to tackle your assets and provide for those who you care about and want to provide for after your death.
There is a lot of legal paperwork to contend with and it is the complications of all this that cause people to hire estate planning lawyers who know all about federal and state laws.
It is far better to be prepared and to make sure that those who you consider being your loved ones are the ones that receive your assets when you are no longer there.
This estate plan is going to protect your family after you die or become incapacitated. It basically requires you to –
- Decide on who you want all your possessions to go to after your death
- Appoint an executor to take care of your affairs. Most people find that the best people to do this are estate planning lawyers.
- Name guardians for minor children.
- Make provision for financial and medical decisions once you are no longer able to.
- Have a plan so you can avoid probate.
- Make sure that your estate plan comes with clear, simple instructions.
- Make sure that the appropriate people know exactly where to find all your estate planning documents after your death.
Estate planning Applies to Young People too
Young people might believe that they do not need to have a will or any kind of estate planning. We are living in such chaotic times and with covid-19 hovering around, it is important for young people to have an estate plan. Estate planning lawyers need to be consulted by old and young people. From the age of 18 young people can make health, financial and legal decisions about their lives, but something could happen so that you are unable to make these decisions.
You can appoint someone to make financial decisions on your behalf but estate planning lawyers are your best bet. In such a case that you are incapacitated, the appointed person will act on your behalf until such time that you can make your own decisions again.
A financial power of attorney will allow the appointed person to handle all your legal and financial matters.
In this day and age, nobody can say what tomorrow will bring in terms of health, and even for young people, you can’t be sure. With this type of power of attorney, you give someone the power to make decisions regarding your health and according to instructions you gave them.
Sometimes Bankruptcy Intervenes
As suggested, nobody can be sure about tomorrow, and while estate planning is about dividing up your property, you might be facing bankruptcy now. Bankruptcy can offer a lifeline but you need to know your options. If you have chosen the best estate planning lawyers, bankruptcy sorted out by them can actually be like a fresh start for you.
It is designed to assist if your accumulated debt is more than your reasonable ability to pay it off. This bankruptcy is a way of wiping out your total debt and allowing you to keep some assets – under certain conditions. Unlike probate and estate administration, bankruptcy is a federal process and if a debtor passes away, a Chapter 7 case will proceed.
The trustee is in charge of the liquidation and it could pass through probate administration. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be beneficial to a probate estate, as the final discharge eliminates the deceased debtor’s obligation to repay most debts.
Creditors can not make claims against the debtor’s estate so that more of the estate’s property is available for distribution to the descendant’s beneficiaries.
With a Chapter 13 case, a debtor’s death may well make things more complex as they are not straightforward liquidations. Outstanding debt will have to be paid over a period of several years and as per the debtor’s disposable income.
If you are facing the prospect of bankruptcy, your best bet will be to be in touch with experienced estate planning lawyers.
With estate planning, very few people consider the possibility of having to declare bankruptcy. It may seem to be the most unlikely thing to occur, but it does happen. Before bankruptcy, you may have created a will that stipulated your wishes as to who should receive what after you die. If you were in debt at the time of your passing, your debts will need to be paid off before beneficiaries can receive their inheritance.
As mentioned, if you were busy with a Chapter 7 filing at the time of your death, your case will continue. Your trustee will sell any property and assets to pay off debt and your beneficiaries will get the rest.
If when you die, one of your beneficiaries is in the middle of bankruptcy, this will also impact their inheritance. If you think that a beneficiary will file bankruptcy, you can chop and change your will to ensure your assets are not used to pay off someone else’s debts. You can discuss this type of thing with estate planning lawyers about putting some of the assets in a trust where they will be protected from the creditors of the beneficiary.
Whether you are preparing for bankruptcy or not, you would be much better off talking to lawyers to look at all your options.
The whole process and time that it takes to wrap up a deceased estate can be huge and frustrating for the deceased’s family, even with the best estate planning lawyers. Most times, beneficiaries of the estate do not understand the administration process of a deceased estate and the best, most reputable estate planning attorneys can explain everything in simple language.
There are so many complex estates and it is important to ensure that every estate, particularly these complicated estates, has a will in place.
The entire process of winding up a deceased estate requires consulting with the deceased’s family. Estate planning lawyers have to get all the documentation in place so as to register the estate at the Master’s office of the High Court within a certain time from the date of death. Once the estate has been registered, the Master will issue Letters of Executorship if the gross value of the estate is above a certain amount.
If someone wants to contest your will, you will want good estate planning attorneys on your side. Because they specialize in handling estate planning matters, they are clued up on all areas of estate planning and they will have had to pass the bar exams for the state that they practice in just like all other lawyers.
Estate Planning Attorneys have all the Necessary Law Degrees
Just like with any other lawyers, estate planning lawyers must receive the necessary law degree from an accredited law school and pass the bar exam in the state where the law is going to be practiced.
Later on, during their course, they can specialize in the field they are interested in. With estate law, the lawyer wanting to break into estate law will have topics such as estate planning, asset management, family law, taxation, trust, and real estate law.
Some of these law schools offer certificates or masters of law degrees in estate planning or in taxation. This will add on a couple more years of coursework. An estate planning attorney does not need any separate certificates to practice as such but there are some of these lawyers that opt to gain further credentials.
A typical example of certification you might see is accredited estate planner or AEP. The National Association of Estate Planners and Councils awards the accredited estate planning designation to licensed attorneys. Requirements for this include at least 5 years of estate planning and much more and there are other awards that they can go for as well.
It can be costly going the estate planning lawyers route but your estate and your family will be in good hands. While the tasks they do are vast, the main purpose of these skilled estate planning attorneys is to assist clients to sort out the financial legacy they will leave to their loved ones. When you make an appointment to see one of these specialists, they will lay out their fees for you.
It goes without saying that the longer estate planning lawyers spend on your estate the more you will end up paying. Fee rates are not set in stone and they will vary between lawyers and from state to state. The lawyer will possibly charge you a starting fee where the lawyer will review your requirements.
When people start looking for estate planning lawyers and comparing prices, for recommendations they may go by word of mouth and what has been recommended to them by friends and family. A financial adviser can also be a good source of information when it comes to recommending good estate planning lawyers as part of their job is referring clients to attorneys.
Estate Planning Lawyers – The Probate
Estate planning lawyers must also receive training in Uniform Probate Code. Referred to as UPC, the Uniform Probate Code is a set of laws that specifically addresses issues related to estates, wills, and trusts.
It was created to streamline the probate process, making estate and probate administration less costly and also simpler.
A number of states have adopted the UPC so as to standardize estate administration. This UPC is important for giving particular details about the types of probate and rights of the surviving spouse. There are 3 kinds of probate – Informal Probate, Unsupervised Formal Probate, and Supervised Formal Probate.
This probate is a long process and it can take anything from just short of a year up to 2 years. During the first period of probate proceedings, all the assets of your family are frozen, meaning that none of the assets can be withdrawn or sold.
So if your family needs money for living costs, they will need to petition the court for a living allowance and the allowance can be denied. This means that your family would not have access to your assets for a certain period of time after you die. However, they are legal avenues available. This probate is a public court process that verifies people’s wills so as to distribute their assets.
The proceedings become a public record. This means that the public will have access to information that reveals to them all that was owned. The probate court will want to verify if the will is accurate. This is a number one priority with them.
During this time, state law requires that all assets be frozen. If no one contests the will, the verification time may well be shorter. If just one person contests the validity of the will, the case could be tied up in court for more than 2 years with your assets being frozen. After validity is established, the estate will be distributed accordingly.
The question is, does a will always have to be probated, and the answer is not always. Estate planning lawyers can always answer these kinds of legal questions. It happens when the will needs to be validated. There are always going to be certain circumstances that would not be necessary. No one likes to think about the end of their life, but estate planning is essential, and the best estate planning lawyers are clued up with will, trusts, living wills, estate, probate, bankruptcy, beneficiaries, and much more.
Learn the differences between property subject to probate and property that is not, and learn about some circumstances that might require a will to go through probate.
A Will is Very Important
Estate planning lawyers work on your wills and trusts too. A will allows you to distribute your assets to your named beneficiaries and implement your desires. If you die intestate or without a will, you can’t make gifts to certain beneficiaries.
These wills can also be made to minimize estate taxes and avoid probate. If you have young children, you can appoint someone to manage money left for them but without a will, your children will receive money at the age of 18. A comprehensive estate plan and wills and trusts are a way for a person to ensure there is no bickering among family members after they die. Estate planning lawyers tailor wills and trusts to suit your specific needs and wishes.
You can see that a will is important as it stipulates who your beneficiaries are going to be. The will can also stipulate who the person will be to administer your estate. The person who draws up a will is known as the testator.
You can get assistance from attorneys or other people who have the appropriate qualifications to draw up a will. You can draft your own will but it will have to comply with everything to make sure it is valid.
By contacting estate planning lawyers, you can protect your assets and also protect your family after your death. The estate planning lawyer will work with you to establish a will so as to prevent your property from being distributed as per the provisions of intestacy statutes. In other words, you do not have control over who receives your assets.
Power of Attorney is a legal document that authorizes someone else to manage your financial affairs. By having a power attorney drafted by an estate planning lawyer, you do not have to put up with all the aggravations that come from not having a will in place.
Not only that, if you are mentally not able to make decisions later on in life, you also get what is known as Health Care Proxy where an adult is appointed to make medical decisions for you if you are not able to in the future. By having this health care proxy drafted by an estate planning lawyer, you can avoid things happening to you that you do not want.
The reality is that anything can happen and you want to be prepared for the day that you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself. If you plan your estate and how your assets will be distributed, you can have peace of mind.
Many people have retirement plans when they die. The question is, what happens to these retirement plans? Generally, your retirement plan benefits go to the beneficiaries you designated. Benefits will be subject to estate tax at your death and then also to income tax when benefits are distributed to the beneficiaries.
You can designate who will receive your retirement plan benefits. If you do not have a beneficiary, benefits will be distributed as per the terms of your retirement plans. If you do not have a will or the benefits cannot be distributed under the terms of your will, the benefits will be distributed under your state’s intestate succession laws.
Estate planning lawyers, just like other lawyers, can be expensive, especially with an estate planning attorney, as their services are very specialized and they receive many years of training for this role.
People often dread what will become of them when they reach the end of their lives and they can no longer make sound decisions. This is when estate planning lawyers can play such an important role. When you can no longer make decisions this is when a person can assign power of attorney, drawing up a living will.
This living will is not in place of a regular will but rather it is used before death, and after death, it no longer has any use. It provides instructions on the kind of medical care you want when you are not able to make decisions anymore.
Lots of people can’t bear the thought of being on life support month after month and they will stipulate in a living will when life support should be switched off. A living will also contain information about whether the person wants to donate their organs after death or not.
Estate planning lawyers also handle trusts. This is a legal arrangement where a 3rd third party will hold assets on your behalf. The trustee is the one who takes care of your assets. There are a few reasons why you want to establish trust and there are also lots of types of trusts.
There are also different ways that these trusts can be drawn up but one of the main benefits of a trust is that it avoids the beneficiaries having to deal with probate.
Revocable trusts you can revoke and they are also known as revocable living trusts and they allow you to have a say with your assets. You can change these kinds of trusts if need be as nothing is set in stone. A revocable trust allows you to name yourself the trustee and name someone trustworthy to act as a successor trustee after your death or if you are unfit to manage the trust.
You need to know that these revocable trusts are not subject to probate. This is good news because it means that assets are held in trust and are distributed amongst beneficiaries without them having to go through probate court.
With irrevocable trusts, once you establish such a trust, you can’t change it. So if you choose to transfer assets you own to the trust, you cannot change things or undo the action. You have less flexibility with this kind of trust.
The reason people establish an irrevocable trust is that it can be used as a safe place for assets. If this kind of trust has been properly drafted, a person can hand over assets to an irrevocable trust and creditors can not remove the asset, meaning they are protected, also from estate tax.
These trusts offer control over your assets and where they will end up. Another significant advantage of a trust is that it provides tax protection.
If you are wondering just where a trust belongs with your estate planning, the best way to decide about trusts is to, as always, be in touch with estate planning lawyers. If you decide to go ahead with trusts, an estate planning attorney can help you form a trust.
For such an important task, lawyers can help you with this and for such an important task, it is imperative to find the best estate planning lawyers who will set up a plan for you, making sure that it is valid and recognized under your state’s laws.
Who is Going to Get your Assets?
The best estate planning lawyers are useful to have with the estate planning process and afterward through the process of probate court. They understand all the state and federal laws that will affect your estate.
Many people think that with the few little possessions they own, they do not have an estate, and while that may be so for many people, even those with few possessions might want to make sure that they go to the right person after their death. A person’s estate essentially consists of all their belongings and property as well as all their liabilities.
If you want estate planning lawyers to administer your estate, it means that they will be taking control of the assets of the deceased.
Many parents never talk about estate planning with their kids, but when they reach the age of 70, they begin to realize that time is more or less running out and they need to talk to their kids about how their estate will be divided up.
There are some parents that have lots of money and they are nervous about revealing to their kids precisely how much money and property they have. There are very wealthy children who grow up wanting for nothing and who rely heavily on their parent’s financial support for everything.
History and the news reveal many stories of kids and spouses from all over the world who have murdered their parents and partners to get hold of their money and to inherit everything they have.
Then again there are many parents who do not want to be a burden to their children or they do not want their children to know about any kind of a future inheritance.
Most parents, however, have a will drawn up and they appoint one of the more responsible children to know where the will is kept in the house or the name of the estate planning lawyer who has the will on their files.
They are the executor of the estate. An executor of an estate is the one who has been appointed to administer the last will and testament of a deceased person. So if the estate planning lawyer has been appointed as executor, their main duty will be to carry out the instructions to manage the affairs of the deceased.
These instructions will have been described in the will or trust documents of the deceased. Even for a lawyer, being an executor is a big responsibility and it is not unusual for complications to arise.
The executor has to make sure that all assets that include the likes of stocks bonds, real estate, financial holdings, etc are referred to the correct parties. The executor has to also make sure that all the debts of the deceased are paid off and that all tax returns are accounted for. Other duties of the Executor include –
- Work out the value of assets in the estate
- Work out the liabilities in the estate’s
- Work out the procedure for the administration of the estate
- If the estate ends up being insolvent, Section 34 must be applied. It is part of the Administration of Estates Act.
- Payment of master’s fee and estate duty
- Request the filing slip from the Master once final requirements have been met.
Estate planning attorneys are highly experienced and they are also skilled, licensed law professionals with a deep understanding of all laws that will affect how your estate will be dispersed.
Get the best estate planning lawyers near you who you feel comfortable with to handle your estate. There is no denying, estate planning lawyers are costly but in exchange for this you get someone who specializes in this complex area of practice and who can offer you their expertise so that you can have complete peace of mind about your estate and what will happen to you and everything you own as you plan for your departure from this earth.