Categories: Estate Planning

Five Reasons to See an Estate Planning Attorney

When you’ve worked hard for what you have, it’s hard to think of leaving it all behind. However, estate planning, as hard as it is to face, is part of being responsible just as much as paying your bills on time. You need, more than anything, to talk to an estate planning attorney who can help insure that your wishes are followed.

Who They Are and What They Do

Estate planning attorneys are experts in a specialized area of the law relating to creating a legal framework to manage and distribute your assets in the event of your incapacity or death, including managing bequests to designated heirs, guardianship and care of minor children or those who cannot actively participate in their own care, and managing family trusts. They also provide guidance in managing elder’s affairs and aspects of elder law from Medicare applications to conservatorships and nursing home care. Here are five big reasons to see an attorney specializing in estate planning:

  1. If your net worth is higher than $5 million, your estate could be subject to estate taxes. Estate taxes not only impact your estate after death, but some states also tax the recipient of the bequest. Proper planning can keep your estate from excessive taxation, and avoid putting a tax burden on your heirs.
  2. If you own real property, it can be tricky to divide upon your death, and conveying title to an heir or to a joint owner of the property such as a spouse, child, or business partner.
  3. If you have minor children, or are caring for someone who cannot participate in their own care such as someone with special needs or an elderly person with dementia, they will need special arrangements in order to see to their well-being and safety.
  4. Avoiding a brawl among your survivors. Everyone has a horror story about heirs and presumptive heirs behaving badly. Planning your estate insures that in the case of complicated families, that your assets go where you wish them to.
  5. If you have had any major life changes such as a divorce, the death or incapacity of a spouse, remarriage, or diagnosis of a major disease, your previous estate arrangements need another look and some revisions

Final Words

There is, of course, a scam alert to put in here. You know me by now! Yes, there are even scams that surround estate planning, preying on people who want to put a little extra in their pocket in the here and now. These scammers are often referred to as “trust mills” and they’re nothing new – a senate hearing was held on these rip-off artists as far back as 2000. In fact, the Florida Supreme Court handed out a 23-page beatdown in January of 2015 regarding non-lawyers and the practice of estate law and elder law. In short, lawyers can draw documents related to wills, trusts, estates, and so forth, telemarketers, paralegals, and Smilin’ Sam the Annuity Man. Come talk to us about planning your estate and we’ll set your mind at ease.

Published by
Chad Van Horn

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