Estate planning is often overlooked, even by those people who have more than just their estate to manage, so to speak. However, overlooking this or postponing it until it might be too late could have serious consequences for your estate – and over who gets what part of it!
For example, sleeping on your estate planning might give one family member the right and reason to contest it.
Therefore, as advised by the Batson Nolan PLC law firm, a professional estate planning attorney is more than just suggested.
Here’s exactly why!
You Avoid the Probate Process
When someone dies and they don’t have a will or estate plan established, their estate goes through a probate process. The latter has the purpose of distributing the estate among family members, beneficiaries, and so on.
This is, as some of you might know, a costly and lengthy process, to say the least. On top of that, it might also spark conflict between your family members. Nevertheless, it is something that the authorities must apply to your entire estate if you had only a will in place, but it wasn’t backed by an estate planning attorney.
Basically, this type of process is required to prove the validity of the will of a deceased person. Such proof is not needed when the right type of attorney works in the drafting/creation of the will.
You Learn How to Protect Your Family and Assets
An estate planning attorney doesn’t just draft your estate plan. They also help you determine which is the best course of action for yourself, for your estate and, most importantly, for your family and close relatives.
Such an attorney will go over everything you need to take care of in the final years of your life – including medical directives, trusts, and potential wills. It goes without saying that they’ll tell you how to treat each family member in particular and, if needed, how to take care of the unfavored members.
For example, family members with special needs might require special care and attention after you’re no longer around. An estate planning attorney can help you manage problems of this type properly.
You Avoid Family Tension
Creating an estate plan or will on your own will most likely create conflicts within the family. You might forget to add someone to your will or simply forget to mention something that might be important to them.
The attorney in charge of your estate planning helps you to avoid such common mistakes and, on top of that, takes into account all of your wishes as well. In short, they can help you give everyone in your family what they deserve.
If you work with a professional attorney, your family – or at least those that are in overall good standing with your estate, so to say – will know that they don’t have to worry about a single thing. Whereas in movies the will of a person is usually one-sided, the attorney’s role in real life is to ensure fairness in all aspects.
You Will Consider Special Needs Family Members
Attorneys that specialize in estate planning also hold great knowledge over the variety of trusts that are available out there. This aspect is particularly helpful when it comes to family members with special needs. Why?
Well, when such family members inherit something, they might lose their public benefits. However, this can be taken care of with the help of some trusts that your attorney can introduce you to.
This was mentioned earlier in the article as well. Special-needs family members might need a caretaker appointed, for example. In other cases, your will may even plan out their entire lives, based on the fortune that you’re leaving them with. The attorney makes sure that the will is respected and that those family members are not overlooked or left behind.
You Enjoy Lower Tax Liabilities
Obviously, an all-time favorite, estate planning attorneys can actually help you enjoy lower tax liabilities. For instance, donations, certain expenses, debt, or trust transfers might not have to be included in your taxable estate, so to speak.
Naturally, a lot of people will most likely never know such a thing unless they contact an estate planning attorney. On top of that, it’s also very important for people to keep track of such things during their lives. After all, you wouldn’t want to be taxed for something that you shouldn’t be taxed for – nobody wants that!
As such, it’s clear that estate planning, in some cases, should start rather early in someone’s life – namely as soon as they view it as an estate, so to say. This planning should also imply proper bookkeeping of one’s life!
You Might Not Understand State Laws
Some states come with quite complex laws. At the same time, even if documents and such should be recognized in between states, this rule doesn’t always apply. As a result, in some cases, people might appoint as heir someone that is not legally allowed, from your standpoint, to be one.
An estate planning attorney helps you avoid such trouble. As you might have guessed, the pointing of the wrong heir of your estate might cause your will to be declared void and the probation process to begin.
For example, some states don’t allow people to be personal representatives to someone unless they are closely related to them and living in the state in question as well. If one of the conditions is not fulfilled, the state will appoint a trustee or representative in your stead.
The Bottom Line
The most important thing is the fact that such attorneys help you avoid family discord. Your loved ones will know that your estate is shared accordingly, as your attorney will most likely stop you if you’re about to do something that seems wrong – such as omit someone just because of one thing they did 20 years ago.
Even if you don’t plan to use the attorney for the entire process, it’s recommended to have them by your side in the beginning, to at least help you to assess your estate’s situation.