Most of us don’t put nearly as much though as we should into planning how our estates will be distributed, and the estimates are that nearly two-thirds of Kearns die intestate, without having prepared a will. While their estates will eventually be distributed according the inheritance laws in their states, those laws may not reflect at all how they would have chosen to pass on their assets. If you want to avoid that situation, finding a firm of experienced estate planning attorneys is your best answer. Estate planning attorneys have a comprehensive understanding of the probate process in your state, as well as up-to-the-minute knowledge of estate tax laws. They will help you ensure that your final wishes regarding the distribution of your estate, as well as your health care and life support wishes, are carried out.
Estate planning attorneys can help you regardless of whether you want to draft a simple will for a small estate; to change an existing will so that it reflects a change in your financial status; to establish a living trust; or to set up an estate plan which includes a will, trust, and your health care and life support directives. Your estate planning attorneys will help you determine, from the existing state of your financial affairs, including your investments, real estate holdings, and personal property, what your estate planning goals should be. They will help you get a realistic picture of the potential needs of your survivors, and elicit a clear understanding of your final health care desires. With that information, estate planning attorneys can then explain to you the best alternatives for seeing that your estate is handled as you wish. They will not only discuss wills and trusts; they will present options which you can employ immediately to lessen the taxes and probate costs on your estate.
Estate planning attorneys can also advise you as to whether or not any personal changes in your life will require a change in your estate plan. If, for instance, you are widowed or divorced, in you later years, and considering remarriage, you should be aware that there may be consequences for your estate. Should you remarry late in life, you and your spouse will be responsible for the costs of each other’s long-term health care should one of you be placed in a nursing home. Those costs be a significant drain on you, or you future spouse’s, assets. If you have children from an earlier marriage and intend to remarry, changing your estate plan so that you will include your new spouse among your heirs, there is a possibility of conflicted feelings among your children. Estate planning attorneys can suggest ways in which you can begin to distribute the assets you intend to leave to you children assets among your children during your lifetime without it causing tax consequences. Estate tax attorneys will draft and execute all the legal paperwork, including your will, living or testamentary trust, health care directive, and powers of attorney which are necessary to carry out you wishes. They will also do the research needed to make sure that the tax consequences to your estate are minimized, consulting with tax experts if needed.
Finding A Competent Estate Planning Attorney
When the time comes for you to leave this earth, your assets stay behind. Everything you have worked hard for will remain here, but you need to make sure they are left in safe hands. And for this to happen, you need to come up with an estate plan. Estate planning is making plans to entrust your assets to someone responsible when you pass on. And to avoid difficulties during this process, it can be helpful to work with a lawyer. An estate planning attorney is a professional who is well versed with these issues, and who knows all the laws involved in that area.
Finding an estate attorney can be a daunting task. You need to be careful while you look for one, because your precious assets are involved here; be it your cars, apartments, bank accounts, estates, businesses, etc. He should be competent enough to put things clear so your beneficiaries will not have problems down the line.
Toward this end, there are important attributes you need to look for in a competent attorney. Here is just a look at some:
First, ensure that whoever you are going to hire has experience in that field. Ensure that your lawyer has a license, check on his certificates and his working experience as well. He should display his professional skills in the way he counsels you, and in the options he is giving you. The attorney must also be ethical. He should give you advice that is legally accepted. Any attorney who is giving you advice that is not legal and ethical will cause problems to your beneficiaries in future. Also, look for someone who you can trust as a ‘friend’. He should be a person whom you can tell him everything and how you want your final affairs arranged.
He should be a good listener and open-minded as well. He should be in a position to offer you a personalized service displaying a sense of seriousness and commitment to your matter. Just as said earlier, finding an estate planning attorney with all these attributes is not easy. There are many attorneys who claim to know all about estate planning, but not all of them are well-versed in this area. Here is a list of resources you can consult while as you search for an attorney:
• Referral from your financial advisor.
• Your accountant can also be of help.
• You can consult other lawyers you have worked with on legal issues.
• Ask for a referral from a local probate court.
• Ask your colleagues, family and/or friends for a referral.
• Search on the internet and/or check advertisements that have been posted on the newspapers or there are those who advertise themselves on radio or televisions.
This list will help you find an attorney, and provided he/she possesses all the attributes mentioned above, you should have a reputable estate attorney to help you manage your final affairs.
Do You Need a Estate Planning Attorney to Write Your Will?
Everyone should have a will. That is a simple fact. If you have children or have any assets at all, it is absolutely essential to have a will. Even those without kids and with minimal possessions can also benefit from having a will since you will still need people to understand what you want to happen at the end of your life.
While you may be tempted to try to create your own will, it is advisable in almost every case to speak with a estate planning attorney. A good estate planning attorney can help you to prepare a will for a very reasonable fee and there are many benefits to having legal advice for this important document.
There are a myriad of reasons why it is important to get legal advice from an estate planning attorney for both simple and complex wills. Some of those reasons include the following:
• An estate planning attorney will make sure your will meets all legal requirements. Of course, you have to be of sound mind and body but there is also more to it than that. Although you can handwrite a will (aka create a “holographic will”) handwritten or improperly prepared wills may not always be enforceable. It is better to have an expert legal professional help you to draft a document that everyone knows is legally enforceable.
• An estate planning attorney will help to ensure that your will contains all necessary provisions. Many people think about dividing their assets and focus on this aspect of creating a will. However, there is more to making a will than just dividing up your stuff. If you have kids, or even pets, you’ll want to make sure you specify who is to care for them. You may wish to provide special funding for their care as well. Your will can also spell out issues such as how you want your funeral to be arranged, which takes the burden off of grieving family members.
• An estate planning attorney will advise you of the tax consequences of your death. For certain families, there are taxable consequences to leaving assets to heirs or to the transfer of assets. Your attorney can help you to better understand what taxes will occur after you die and when your assets are transferred. An estate planning attorney may also have some advice on how to reduce the taxes that are involved so you and your loved ones can keep more of your hard-earned money.
• An estate planning attorney can help to make sure that your wishes are enforced. From making sure the will is drafted properly to helping you to name an executor to advising you on whether to include a no contest clause, your attorney’s expert legal advice will be invaluable. Your will is one of the most important documents you will create since it helps you to make sure that your legacy lives on as you hope after you are gone. For such an important legal document, it only makes sense to get the best possible expert advice from an estate planning attorney.
Estate planning lawyers, also known as probate attorneys, are often hired to draft Last Will and Testament documents for clients who are looking ahead and wish to have their assets divided among loved ones, or left solely to a particular individual. No matter whom they wish to leave an inheritance to, estate planning lawyers guide clients through the legal system, ensuring them that their final wishes are upheld in a legal manner. Probate attorneys can do much more than just planning for the future with their client. They can also assist beneficiaries in locating, securing and selling assets. In the event that you have become the beneficiary of an inheritance, hiring a probate attorney to advise you through the legal process can ensure that you receive the assets that you are entitled to.
Hiring An Estate Planning Attorney to Assist With Financial Matters
When beneficiaries come into an inheritance, one thing they may not consider immediately is how they are going to settle financial obligations that belong to the deceased person who has left them assets. Property taxes, outstanding loans and immediate debts should be addresses as quickly as possible to avoid any penalties to the estate. An experienced attorney can help a beneficiary by sorting through the deceased party’s financial obligations and recommend a course of action on paying down debts. They can also determine if income tax or gift tax is applicable toward the inheritance, and determine if payments can be made to cover taxes or if the sale of assets is warranted to cover the costs.
On the other side of the spectrum, probate attorneys can locate and secure material assets and financial capital that were left to the beneficiary. This may include property deeds and titles, bank accounts, stocks and bonds, retirement accounts and insurance settlements. Having estate planning attorneys secure an entire inheritance can ensure that the beneficiary does not neglect to maintain accounts that they are now responsible for. Property should be retitled into the beneficiary’s name, and life insurance policies and retirement accounts should be collected on and redistributed into new bank accounts also in the beneficiary’s name for the purpose of securing the inheritance.
Probate Attorneys Can Assist in the Sale of Inherited Property
If, for any reason, a beneficiary decides not to keep their inherited property, having a probate attorney assist in the sale of this and other assets can be an invaluable resource. Probate attorneys specialize in inventorying inherited property, obtaining appraisal value on items within the property and assisting with the sale of inherited items. They also prepare and file any required documentation through the courts, ensuring that nothing is overlooked with the sale of the estate. Hiring a probate attorney to execute the sale of inherited property can help beneficiaries avoid legal issues and complications, while helping them to collect fair market values on the items they wish to sell. Anyone that has come into an inheritance, no matter how large or small, may want to consider consulting with estate planning attorneys to decide what their best course of action may be.
What You Need To Have Together Before You See Your Estate Planning Attorney
An important question to ask before you see an estate planning attorney to make a will or living trust and all of your other planning documents is what to bring. It is important to account for all of your assets, or everything you own before you make an appointment to see your estate planning attorney. You must do a little bit of work to prepare yourself and do your homework before you will be properly prepared for your initial meeting with an attorney. Your estate planning attorney can only make an estate plan based on the information that you give them. If you give your estate planning attorney an incomplete picture of your assets then you attorney may make an estate plan that is not in your best interest. If your estate is bordering on being a taxable estate or over the excludable amount then you will require a different estate plan than if you were not. An extra life insurance policy that you have forgotten about or old stocks that have increased in value can easily push an estate from being non-taxable to taxable. All assets over the excludable amount are taxed at a high rate and you can pass more of your assets to your potential heirs by planning ahead. It is also a good idea to identify all of your assets so they can be passed to potential heirs. If a hidden asset is discovered too late and probate has already closed an estate then a supplemental probate proceeding may have to be opened to pass that asset. This can be an extra headache that you can spare potential heirs be planning ahead.
It is easy to just not think about your financial situation and just hope everything works out in the end, but this is not fair to your loved ones who will have to live the consequences of improper planning. Loved ones of deceased family members are often left to pick up the pieces of a complicated puzzle and must figure out someone’s life with an incomplete picture and missing pieces. It is better to locate all important documents and paperwork and have it in one place not just for your attorney that makes an estate plan, but also for family members so they will already have a completed puzzle and not have a difficult chore to do during a difficult and stressful time period.
Free Initial Consultation with Lawyer
It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you!
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506