How An Estate Planning Lawyer Can Help You
Many people do not realize they need to take specific steps to transfer their assets after their death. People often believe that a simple will can do the job. However, wills are just legal documents that express the maker’s wishes about who inherits their assets. A will is subject to a court procedure known as probate, which allows a judge to interpret a person’s wishes – the probate process opens the door for others to contest the will. Even an unchallenged will’s approval can take a probate judge a long time. Another important consideration is the potentially high fees that can be involved in the probate process. These potential problems, and many others, can generally be prevented by proactively working with an estate planning attorney.
Estate Planning Is Not Just For The “Rich”
People mistakenly believe that estate planning is for the wealthy only. However, it is not just the wealthy who benefit from estate planning – everybody can benefit from having an estate planning lawyer make a written plan that prepares for the uncomplicated transfer of all assets.
Estate planning can include any of several asset protection plans that will ensure that all of a person’s assets are transferred to the people who are designated to receive them. The assets include life insurance, real estate, pensions, bank accounts, ownership interest in a business, cars, equities, and personal belongings. This is not a complete list since the type of assets may vary between individuals.
Trusts and Estate Planning
One frequently utilized estate planning instrument is a trust. There are several types of trusts, and an experienced estate lawyer can make one that is applicable for a person’s specific purposes. A trust can be useful because no court is involved and the assets can be distributed immediately. Probate is avoided, and there is no public record of the estate.
An estate planning lawyer can prepare a durable power of attorney and healthcare directives. These provide for someone to manage a person’s affairs including medical care should they become mentally incapacitated. These powers of attorney can stipulate the specific authority being given to the appointed person. Conservatorship or guardianship issues can be prevented when a person needs someone else to manage their affairs. Selecting a person ahead of time is better than a court appointing someone that would not be the person’s choice.
Understanding how estate planning can benefit you and protect your heirs can be accomplished through a discussion with a legal professional experienced in estate planning and asset protection.