If you are seeking to draft or review a will, establish a trust, litigate a probate matter, or are just looking for legal advice about your estate planning needs, we recommend that you speak with a lawyer. An attorney can help you understand the important legal concepts and ramifications surrounding your issue, and give you advice about a recommended course of action. The process of finding and working with the right lawyer can sometimes seem to be uncertain, but a short meeting with an attorney can often set your mind at ease and guide you towards a positive resolution.
Before you begin, there are some key issues you may want to consider as you start your search for an attorney. First, it is to your benefit to contact an attorney as soon as possible after your legal issue arises. If you wait to contact attorney, you could miss important deadlines that can affect your case or proceedings. Next, understand why you want to meet with a lawyer. Layout out the goals you hope to accomplish with them and understand the different billing methods that attorneys use. And finally, it is important to establish an open line of communication with your attorney as go through your legal process so that you are aware of unforeseen issues or complexities that may arise.
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What is Estate Planning?
Estate planning is the process through which one is able to make certain his or her property and health care wishes are met in the case of death or incapacitation. Estate planning involves making decisions concerning the transfer of one’s property at death as well as various decisions concerning health care, retirement, and other personal matters.
What is an Estate?
An estate is all property owned or controlled by a person, either in his/ her name, a partnership, a trust, or a joint ownership. It also includes any other money generated in the event of the person’s death, such as life insurance. An estate includes:
Why You Should Plan Your Estate
Estate planning is important because it ensures that your wishes will be carried out in the event of your incapacitation or death. You should consider planning your estate if you:
If you meet any of the above descriptions, planning your estate can benefit you in many different ways. Potential benefits include:
Choosing executors or trustees for your estate, which gives authority to individuals which you would like to administer your estate.
Estate planning is often undertaken by individuals, however, to plan your estate well, you should find an experienced estate planning attorney to help you through the process. Aside from drafting a will, estate planning takes a lot of work that is often detail-oriented and time consuming. Hiring an estate planning attorney will make certain that nothing is overlooked and everything is done correctly. An attorney can help ensure that your property is transferred to those you have identified with as little trouble as possible, minimize potential taxes and fees, help you avoid the probate process, and direct arrangements once you die or if you should you ever become incapacitated.
Generally, people avoid using attorneys due to financial reasons. When planning your estate, however, it is important to hire an estate planning attorney not only to be sure everything is done correctly, but also to save money that would otherwise be lost on taxes, fees, or spent on probate court.