Understanding the Importance of an Estate Planning Attorney
Understanding the importance of an estate planning attorney is important in ensuring your loved ones are well taken care of when you pass away. Estate plans involve multiple tools, such as wills, trusts, powers of attorney and advance directives. These tools can protect your assets and your health if you cannot make decisions for yourself.
Asset protection is building barriers around your assets to protect them from litigation, creditor claims, seizure and burdensome taxes. It is a crucial part of both estate planning and financial planning. Most people can protect their assets from lawsuits by placing them in a trust or an LLC. Those with a high risk of liability exposure may also benefit from other forms of asset protection, such as retirement accounts under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) or home equity. However, more is needed to have assets in a trust. These must be positioned so creditors or former spouses cannot seize them.
Preventing Family Fights
It’s no secret that families can get on each other’s nerves. Whether it’s siblings fighting over money, a stepparent arguing with a child or something else entirely, it can be ugly. Fortunately, you can do a few things to keep family fights at bay. First, try having a “break-the-fight signal” for when someone in the family gets riled up. For instance, a bell, hand signal or certain words can help family members know when to stop arguing and talk.
Another way to avoid family fights is to ensure that you have an estate plan in place. This can prevent future disputes and ensure your wishes are communicated clearly and legally to your beneficiaries and loved ones.
Avoiding Probate Court
Understanding the importance of an estate planning attorney can help you avoid probate court and ensure your last wishes are honored. Without proper estate planning, your heirs may have to go through the time-consuming and costly process of probate court, where they will have to wait for a court-appointed representative to distribute their assets and handle their debts. One of the best ways to avoid probate is to have a trust in place, allowing you to control your assets while you live and distribute them privately to your beneficiaries after you die. This allows you to minimize taxes, and a trust can also discourage disgruntled heirs from trying to challenge your estate plan. Another way to avoid probate is by naming a beneficiary on your financial accounts, such as retirement plans, savings, investments and life insurance policies. These assets are known as payable on death or transfer on death assets, and upon your death, they will automatically pass to the person you designate.
Having a Say in What Happens to Your Assets
One of the best things about an estate plan is that it allows you to have a say in how your hard-earned assets are handled after you die. A solid plan will go a long way in ensuring your wishes are fulfilled and that your family and friends get the credit they deserve. The most crucial step is finding a competent and trustworthy legal professional. This should be easy if you do your homework and shop around. There are many lawyers in the metro area, but you should only consider those with a proven track record of providing top-notch services to their clients.