There are many ‘do-it-yourself’ books and websites which purport to help with estate planning. While some of them are very informative, some are highly confusing and misleading. It’s okay to read through them for a fair understanding of the concept, but remember that estate planning is a complex matter, involving lot of valuations and intricate tax matters, and is subject to ever-changing laws, which many of us lesser mortals may not comprehend completely. Moreover, laws differ from state to state. Therefore, though there’s no compulsion to hire an attorney, make sure to take professional help to save yourself and your beneficiaries from complications.
Finding an attorney specializing in estate planning is not that difficult. There are many free on-line databases which provide the names and addresses of attorneys. These are organized by state, county, city, and specialization. So, your attorney is just a mouse-click away.
There are many lawyers who provide free on-line consultation and advice. If you simply give the details of your estate and beneficiaries, the experts will evaluate the case and tell you the probable tax incidence and the ways to minimize the tax. You can utilize these free services to understand your own legal and tax obligations and, after your death, those of the beneficiaries vis-à-vis the estate. Before approaching an attorney it’s prudent to do some investigative work on the credentials of the one you have chosen. Ensure that s/he is a certified specialist and is well experienced in estate planning. You can even ask the attorney to give references from the people who earlier availed his/her services. Also, check whether the professional fees fit within your budget. If you are satisfied with all these details and decide to hire his/her services, you’ll be offered a contract known as legal services agreement/retainer agreement. Understand the agreement before signing it so that you won’t end up paying more than you bargained for or forego certain services you took for granted.
Professional services will include evaluating the estate, planning and managing it during your lifetime, and disposing of it off after your death in a way which gives the optimum benefit to your beneficiaries and attracts minimum tax. The attorney will also take care of all documentation and filing work. Yes, legal services are a little expensive here. But the money and time you spend to plan your estate not only assures monetary security to your dear ones when you are gone but also saves them from a lot of legal and tax complications.
Essential Documents Needed to Set Up an Estate Plan
Estate planning is something that one need to do yet isn’t such a welcoming thought for most people. Sickness, disease and death are topics that most people don’t like to discuss yet these are incidents that hold great significance in our existence as human beings. An estate plan is like a problem that people hate to deal with. It’s there and one needs to do it, but most people simply put it off for a while, with the thought that maybe they can do it much later when everything’s too late. However, with a rock solid estate plan, you not only give your family a secure future and less of a hassle, but most importantly give yourself a helping hand in the event of disability and incompetence. It’s like overseeing your affairs even when you’re no longer around or are physically or mentally impaired to handle your estate.
You may have heard of stories about family squabbles over the death of a relative who did not leave behind a last will and testament. You may have also heard of very expensive tax bills that one needs to pay when claiming the properties of a departed loved one. All of these things can be avoided with proper estate planning. Here are 5 essential documents needed in setting up a good estate plan.
1. Last Will and Testament- This is perhaps the very basic and most important document of a good estate plan. The will contains the names of your beneficiaries or the names of the people who will be taking over your assets in the event of death. You decide who gets what in the will. Without a will, the state decides who gets your assets. Apart from the smooth transition of your assets, you can also assign the guardians for your children as well as many other clauses and stipulations. A will must be drafted by a trusted and competent attorney.
2. Living Trust – This is very much like a will, as a living trust also aims for the smooth transition of your assets to their beneficiaries. While a will is a public document, a living trust is not. A living trust will therefore be not subject to expensive and stressful probate hearings. Many celebrities and high-profile individuals prefer a living trust over a will as this document is private; thus, assets are transferred with utmost confidentiality. However, a living trust is also more costly to maintain. It is important that a living trust be properly funded so no problems will arise upon the death of a trustee.
3. Living Will- This document contains your wishes on what must be done in the event of being critically ill. For example, a living will may stress that you be well taken care of on your last days. It may also include your preference on being attached to machines in the event of comma and how long you want to be attached to such machines.
4. Special Power of Attorney – This document lets you appoint a person who will take charge of your assets when you are incapacitated. This document should come in handy when you will need to sign checks or papers but couldn’t anymore. Somebody you greatly trust must therefore be appointed. A spouse, child or close relative is usually assigned. Without a special power of attorney, the family may need to get this document from court which can be time-consuming, expensive and highly stressful.
5. Health Care Directive – While a special power of attorney allows you to assign someone to manage your assets, the health care directive lets you appoint someone to make health care decisions for you. This can be the same person whom you appointed for the special power of attorney document. Whoever you assign must exercise good judgment in case you are incapable of making your own decisions. It is very important to consult with a lawyer that you completely trust in estate and financial planning. An estate plan is a big deal and is something that you cannot do alone. You need the help of an attorney to draft the above documents and also discuss matters with your spouse and children. Sure it may need a lot of work and thinking, but estate planning is definitely worth it. Your loved ones are secure and everything goes according to how you want it to. It’s like having your arm around your loved ones in the event of your passing.
Reasons for Estate Planning In North Logan Utah
Do you know what happens if you die without a will? The courts will decide who will raise your children, manage your assets, inherit your possessions, and administer your estate. Heirs must usually agree on a court appointed administrator. If some of the heirs are mentally incapacitated, or under age, it gets unbelievably complicated.
Add in children and spouses from previous marriages and it can become a seething pot of turmoil for your family.
If your second spouse survives you, the children from your first marriage could end up with nothing. The courts may set aside assets to be given to the children when they come of age that makes it impossible for your spouse to afford your current home or lifestyle.
When there is no will and a couple dies together, the state may have to “decide” who died first. If one outlives the other, even by a few minutes, the relatives of the first to die can loose out completely. Without proper organization your assets could go unnoticed or become lost and loved ones may not benefit from your years of hard work.
Imagine your loved ones rummaging around your home and safety deposit box after you’ve died or become mentally incapacitated, gathering up all the papers they can find. They have no way of knowing if what they find is up-to-date, important, or complete. All they can really do is stuff the papers into plastic bags and go to an accountant or lawyer for help. This is a stressful and chaotic situation. An unorganized or improperly prepared estate plan can melt the glue that holds a family together. If you think you don’t have much, consider that the less you have the more your family needs a well written estate plan to see that it goes to them, not taxes and attorneys.
Also, some of the biggest fights in estates can occur over personal items such as a sterling silver tray or a family heirloom. Planning ahead can avoid costly court actions and family rifts that may never be repaired.
A will can’t help you and your family when you’re alive. If an accident or a stroke leaves you mentally incapacitated and you don’t have a Durable Power of Attorney for Property in place, there is no one to automatically step in and manage your financial affairs. A marriage license does not give your spouse authority to act for you if you become incapacitated. It’s false comfort to believe that it does. All your financial assets including bank accounts can become frozen. Your spouse may be unable to sell the house if she needs to.
The courts will appoint someone to represent your best interests. You have sentenced your family to an ongoing financial nightmare.
You also need a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care and a Living Will. If you haven’t taken the responsibility to legally make your wishes known you may be kept alive and in pain as medical bills devour your estate because a family member is unable to let you go. Your loved ones can be racked with guilt if they have to decide to shut off life support or tube feedings. Why don’t we plan? We believe it will be cumbersome, time-consuming, and in most cases, very expensive.
Prepaid legal provider companies offer various plans that allow members to call an 800 number to discuss any legal problem for a low monthly fee. The companies contract with law firms across the country to offer these services–similar to the way a health insurance company contracts with doctors. Legal service plans provide for legal benefits, including unlimited attorney consultation, will preparation and traffic violation defense. A legal service plan will provide a Will Worksheet to make it very easy for you. You fill it out in the comfort of your home, call your law firm, and send it in. You’ll receive back at no additional charge a comprehensive will ready to be notarized. Your Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care and a Living Will are also available. Take care of your family.
Make those decisions now while you still can. 75 percent of people in North Logan Utah don’t have a will. Talk with your attorney about a Durable Power of Attorney for Property, Bank Power of Attorney, Revocable Living Trusts, Testamentary Trusts, and any other legal documents that could benefit your family. They must be written carefully so they don’t conflict and void each other out.
Things a Real Estate Closing Attorney Can Do For You
It doesn’t really matter whether you are buying a house or selling one, you still need our great real estate closing attorney. If you want to make sure that you get the best deal possible in any case, you really have to let professional real estate closing attorney help you out as you try to finalize your deal. If you’re planning to invest money into buying property, then such attorneys will be debates for you especially if they specialize in investment property. If you already decided that you do want to find and hire a real estate closing attorney, the next thing you have to do is you have to make sure you understand what their job is so that you know what to expect from them.
Here is what they should do for you.
Your real estate closing attorney should be a kind of protection for you if you are buying or selling a house.
They will be your adviser and your counselor. They will provide you with information and everything you need to know so that you can sell your house for the best price or buy your house for the best price. Your real estate closing attorney will make sure that whenever the circumstances, you are happy with the money or the property you get out of the deal. He will make sure that the transaction will be finalized no matter what happens, so that you are always safe. When you are choosing our real estate closing attorney, there is a couple things you need to look out for and considered. Be sure that you know that they are certified at what they do. Those transactions can be very complicated, and there are very small things and little tidbits of law which you may not understand, but which are given a real estate closing attorney will be able to quickly indicate, and take care of. Remember that these people are professional and they know for sure what to do to make sure that the transaction goes as well as planned or even better. If you are not careful, without their help you can lose your property altogether.
If you don’t want them to be too involved in this situation, at least lead then check the title on the home so that they can make sure that there is no surprise which you might be liable for. They will also be able to help you to transfer the money between clients and yourself so that everything is planned and well organized. If your choice is to work without a real estate closing attorney, you are at risk. If you consider that risk, it is very easy to decide whether or not you want to get one. Getting a good real estate closing attorney is a choice which you really don’t have. It is just plain smarter and safer to hire a person that will make sure that the transaction goes smooth, you receive your money or receive your house, and you will be able to sleep well every night without having to worry about losing anything at all. If you don’t want to pay money, maybe they will give you a free consultation or a few pieces of advice.
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