Estate planning is a complicated field of law that requires the experience of an attorney that is backed by a law firm capable of providing the requisite expertise. Specifically, an estate planning attorney should be contacted if you are seeking to protect your assets. It is important that you schedule a consultation with an attorney if the following circumstances apply:
If you have a large portfolio of expensive assets
If you have accumulated a large number of real estate holdings and other valuable assets during your lifetime, you should seek the advice of an estate planning attorney in your area. For example, those in Southern California should contact the Lawyer in Blue Jeans estate planning law firm in San Diego. Each asset should be held in a separate entities’ name to avoid personal liability in the event of an accident. An estate planning lawyer will ensure this is done correctly.
Beyond that, the attorney will instruct you as to whether or not a will or a trust is the appropriate instrument to achieve your goals. The attorney will require copies of all deeds in possession of the testator along with copies of bank account statements with account numbers to include in the last will and testament. All of this information is vital since the more information that is provided the easier it will be to protect these specific assets.
If there are a number of beneficiaries in the will
Individuals that are married and have a number of children should certainly consult with and retain an experienced estate attorney to prepare their estate documents. It is important that the attorney is advised of who will be included in the will and who will be excluded.
All of the last known addresses for any beneficiaries listed must be provided to the attorney. This is because, at the time of probate, the executor will need to list all of the beneficiaries with their last known addresses so that they may be contacted by the court. If any of the beneficiaries cannot be contacted, the court may require a good faith effort to be made which might include publication in newspapers.
To consider avoiding inheritance tax and probate
A revocable or irrevocable trust are sometimes used by individuals who are seeking to avoid probate and/or inheritance taxes. Trusts are complicated legal instruments that only experienced attorneys are capable of drafting on behalf of a client.
Individuals that have numerous real estate holdings may want to place those holdings into a trust so that at the time of their death, probate is not necessary. However, this is not as easy as it sounds, which is why consulting with and retaining an experienced estate attorney is crucial should you wish to avoid probate and inheritance taxes.
If you believe it is likely your estate will be contested
The family dynamic in many families is unfriendly. The testator knows better than anybody else if any potential beneficiaries to his or her estate will challenge their last will and testament. An attorney who has handled such matters in the past will advise the client to include language in their will that recognizes the existence of an individual but excludes them for reasons known to the testator and potential beneficiary. The attorney can also include a clause that states anyone who contests the will is immediately cut out of the will. Finally, it must be known that only contests to the will based upon lack of capacity and undue influence are recognized by the courts.
These are only a few of the linchpin reasons that Testators should consult with an estate attorney in their area should they believe that their last will and testament may come under contest from a potential beneficiary
If you have been married multiple times
Individuals that have been married numerous times may certainly encounter issues at the time of their death from not only their prior spouses but from any children of those marriages. It is unfortunate that families fracture at the time of the death of a testator and those that have been married multiple times have any number of potential beneficiaries who will “come out of the woodwork“ if they believe that they may be entitled to receive a bequest.
All in all, it is in your best interest to consult with an estate planning attorney in your area should any of the aforementioned circumstances exist. Protecting your assets should be a priority since it has taken you a lifetime to accumulate them. Do not leave anything to chance and consult with and retain an experienced estate attorney in your area today.