Estate planning is the process of creating a will, a trust, and other estate-planning documents that dictate how your assets are distributed upon your death. Estate planning can be a daunting task. But with the help of an experienced family law lawyer, you can be sure that your wishes will be respected and executed on time.
An estate planning lawyer can advise you on what you should do to make sure your estate is handled correctly after your death. They can also help you create these legal documents if they are not already there. Continue reading this estate planning blog to learn how we can help you with estate planning. We care for you and your family’s security.
What is Estate Planning?
Almost everyone has an estate, so there is a need for estate planning. All the things you own, such as a vehicle, a house, other real estate, bank accounts, investments, furniture, life insurance, and personal belongings, make up your estate. No matter how big or small, everyone has an estate, and they all share the same fate: nothing survives the death of its owner.
If and when that time comes, you’ll want to ensure that your values are honored by your chosen recipients. Your will is more likely to be carried out if you leave specific instructions to your estate planning lawyer about who should get what, when, and under what conditions. Naturally, you’ll want a resolution that requires the least amount of money from you in the form of taxes, court costs, and legal fees.
It’s what estate planning is: figuring out who you want your assets to go to after your death and making preparations now to make that as easy as possible. A reliable estate planning should:
- Be definite. Don’t let your loved ones guess how you want your care and finances handled if you end up handicapped.
- Ensure you have life insurance to support your loved ones after you pass. Also, secure disability insurance to substitute your salary in the event of an illness or injury that prevents you from working.
- Make plans for the future of your company in the event of your retirement, disability, incompetence, or death.
- Establish legal responsibility for your minor children’s upkeep and future wealth by naming a legal guardian.
- Care for loved ones with disabilities without jeopardizing aid eligibility.
- Assist family members who may be financially irresponsible or who may require safety from lenders.
- Assist in putting assets into a living trust, finalizing or amending beneficiary designations, and otherwise synchronizing assets with your estate plan. These can help to reduce taxes, unnecessary legal expenditures, and court costs.
In addition, estate planning is not a one-and-done deal. Throughout your life, your family and financial condition (as well as the applicable estate planning law) will likely change, necessitating revisions to your plan.
Estate Planning Begins in Handling Will
A will is a legal document that states your final wishes but does not prevent the probate process. In the absence of a beneficiary designate or other governing arrangement, a will can only dictate what happens to your personal property. Your state’s probate court must still approve the transfer of assets before it may be made.
All of your creditors and excluded heirs will be informed of their right to file a claim for debt payment or a piece of your assets. In a nutshell, the method and timing of payouts to beneficiaries are under the jurisdiction of the judicial process and not your family.
5 Tips for Handling Your Will and Estate Planning
1. Write down what you want in your estate planning papers.
Having an estate plan in place will help ensure that your final wishes regarding your property and loved ones are carried out as you’d like. A judge in probate court may make those choices for you if you don’t have an estate plan.
2. Plan for federal and/or state estate taxes.
Cash, real estate, equities, and other assets are all subject to federal estate taxes. The people you leave your estate to must pay any estate taxes owed within nine months of your passing after they get the money.
If you have a non-liquid estate, this could be an issue. One way to do this is to liquidate any assets you had planned to leave to heirs, such as a home or stock portfolio.
Making gifts to loved ones or establishing an irrevocable trust are two ways to circumvent estate taxes. Before making any decisions regarding your estate tax, you should speak with a tax expert.
3. Keep your beneficiaries updated.
During the process of making a will and other estate documents, you will identify who will benefit from your estate. Avoid a massive loophole at all costs. Any funds left to a beneficiary in an account will be given to them regardless of the terms of your will or trust.
4. Plan for long-term care now.
Spend time with your family law lawyer and financial planner thinking about the possibility of needing long-term care services. Long-term care insurance is another option worth considering; it can help cover the costs of care while keeping your savings safe.
Consider your choices and make various contingency plans if your health status changes.
5. Get a great team.
Prioritize putting together a knowledgeable group of advisors to help you draw up your estate strategy. Work together with a financial planner, tax expert, and estate planning attorney to create a comprehensive estate plan that meets your needs.
Each participant is essential to the outcome and can offer priceless legal and financial insight. If you assemble a competent team, you can lessen the financial impact of your estate on your heirs while increasing the value of their inheritance.
FAQs on Estate Planning Lawyers
- Is a handwritten will legal?
If a handwritten will satisfies all of the regulatory requirements for a typed will, like being notarized or witnessed, then it is a valid will.
- Can I write a will on my own, or should I get legal assistance?
Your assets and the intricacy of your situation dictate the importance of having legal assistance in creating a will. A lawyer may be needed to assist you with dividing your estate, especially if it is complicated or you have a lot of assets. It is also best to attend estate planning seminars.
- Is estate planning tax deductible?
No, most services related to estate planning are not tax deductible.
- Why is estate planning for business owners important?
An estate plan lets you decide what happens to your business when you die. It safeguards your loved ones from unexpected taxes or business debts.
- What is an estate planning council?
The mission of the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils (NAEPC) is to set and maintain the highest possible educational and professional benchmarks for the estate planning industry.
Estate planning is a complicated process and can be overwhelming for many people. It can also be costly, time-consuming, and stressful. However, there are estate planning lawyers that you can take to make the process simpler and less expensive.