Every individual, regardless of age or financial status, should consult an estate planning attorney to determine what happens upon their passing. The purpose of this plan is to anticipate and arrange for the disposal of assets in an organized manner. Often, questions arise concerning probate, and inadequate tax planning leaves heirs with a bill they did not expect to have to pay. The wills and probate attorney works to minimize these problems by helping clients establish a plan that outlines exactly what is to be done with every aspect of the estate. Doing so ensures the last wishes of the departed are followed exactly, whenever possible.
Upon a person’s demise, family and friends are dealing with grief. Money is the last thing they wish to be worrying about, yet this is often the case when a person passes away without an estate plan. The plan works to provide financial stability and support during a difficult time while ensuring assets are distributed in a timely manner, without a long drawn out legal battle.
The transfer of assets may be accompanied by taxes and expenses. An experienced estate planning attorney works to ensure these taxes and expenses are minimized, offering suggestions on how to reduce or eliminate the associated fees. For example, when an asset is left to a spouse or qualified charity, it won’t be subject to the estate tax. Assets left to other individuals, in excess of a certain amount, will be subject to this tax, yet taxes may be reduced by distributing the estate before the person’s demise.
Long Term Care
Individuals now live longer than previous generations. As a result, many people need long-term care, and an estate plan helps with this. The plan outlines how this care will be paid for and also explains how matters should be handled in the event the person creating the plan can no longer manage his or her affairs. The plan may include a living will or a power of attorney. The attorney works with his or her client to determine what documents are needed in their particular situation.
The Establishing Of Trusts
Certain family members need care throughout their lifetime, and an estate plan can be used to establish one or more trusts to pay for this care. For example, physically, mentally, or developmentally disabled family members benefit from a special needs trust—one that ensures they get continuing care. For those individuals who cannot manage their finances, a spendthrift trust may be established that prevents the squandering of money. Other trust options are also offered, and an attorney helps in determining which is best for each scenario.
When a will is contested, it becomes public record. With the help of an estate plan, individuals ensure their information remains private. What they chose to do with their assets won’t be common knowledge, as the estate plan details this information. In the event there are disputes before a person’s demise, mediation may be of help in resolving these issues. This may be included in the estate plan to ensure there aren’t disputes following the person’s departure from this life that lead to information becoming public.
Although some individuals believe they can create a plan of this type without assistance, as their assets are limited, it’s always best to consult an estate planning attorney. Small mistakes in the plan often lead to costly delays, higher taxes, or other issues upon a person’s demise. The attorney works to ensure the plan clearly details the wishes of the person creating the plan and does so in a way that the will becomes harder to contest. Contact an attorney today to learn more about estate law services, as your family and friends will have enough to deal with when you depart. They don’t need a legal battle also.