Dealing with death is an ordeal. However, after much emotional stress, families also worry about estate and asset division. In most cases, wills and beneficiaries are simple and quick. However, these matters can become relatively convoluted with multiple assets or a large family. Worry not because this guide covers everything you need to know about hiring an estate planning lawyer who can resolve these minor obstacles efficiently.
Estate planning is creating a plan for how you want your assets distributed upon your death.
If you have a family or a business, you must ensure that your wishes are honoured after death. You may also want to ensure that your estate does not needlessly burden those left behind.
You can create an estate plan using legal documents, including living wills and trusts. An attorney can help guide you through creating an effective estate plan.
Wills and Trusts
A will is a document that describes how you want your estate to be divided after you die. It can also describe how you want the distribution of your property to occur if you become incapacitated before death, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
A trust is similar to a will in that it lays out instructions for what should happen with your assets when you pass away—but trusts are often used by people who want to avoid probate, which is distributing property after death. Trusts can also provide financial benefits while people are alive due to tax advantages and other factors.
The difference between wills and trusts comes down to who administers them: Wills need executors (that’s where lawyers come into play), whereas trusts don’t have executors because they’re usually managed by an institution like a bank or trust company instead. In terms of their legal significance and applicability, both documents amount to roughly the same thing (in effect). Still, they differ primarily in terms of administration—and perhaps the cost involved in drafting one over another if one has access to enough resources.
Probate and Administration
Probate is the legal process of transferring assets from a deceased person to their beneficiaries. It can be expensive and time-consuming, but you can avoid probate if you have a will and trust.
Another way to avoid probate is by transferring assets on death directly to your heirs rather than through your estate. This may not be possible with some assets (such as property), but it’s worth considering for those easily transferred, like bank accounts and brokerage accounts.
Living Will Instructions
- A living will is a legal document that helps you express your wishes for end-of-life care. It can be used to make decisions about life support and other medical treatments. It may also be called an “advance directive” or a “durable power of attorney for health care.”
- Living wills can be revoked at any time.
How do Estate Planning Lawyers Help?
An estate planning lawyer can help you to set up your estate plan. If you don’t have an estate plan, estate planning lawyers will help you choose the right tools for your needs. They will also help you understand the laws and regulations that apply to your estate plan and its limitations.
Estate Planning Lawyers are trained in the law of wills, probate and administration of estates, trusts, powers of attorney and guardianship; they know what documents are necessary for each type of situation; how much they cost; who should sign them; how long it takes for them to be effective; how long it takes for them to become invalid (or revoked); whether there is anything else which needs doing before or after executing these documents etcetera ad infinitum.