Estate planning forces individuals to contemplate fiscal matters that will affect them while they are alive and after their death. An experienced attorney can help them make prudent decisions.
A good estate planner will welcome your questions and provide answers in a way you understand fully (not speaking in legalese that you can’t translate). They will also be familiar with state and federal laws that impact estates.
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Estate planning is a difficult subject to think about, but it helps your loved ones avoid a stressful probate process and assures that your financial affairs are handled according to your wishes. An experienced estate attorney can help you protect your assets, relinquish funds for charity and care for family members with special needs.
Zimmet suggests asking friends and family for recommendations, as well as checking online reviews. Look for an attorney who welcomes your questions and gives you answers that you fully understand.
When interviewing attorneys, ask what their primary area of emphasis is. An attorney who specializes in estate planning will be familiar with federal and state laws regarding wills, trusts and power of attorney. They may also have specific credentials in certain areas, such as tax law or wealth management.
Often, people will hire an estate planning attorney to write a will and establish trusts. But an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney serving Barrhead can help with a variety of other issues, including tax planning, beneficiary designations, and probate administration.
An experienced estate planning attorney can also advise you regarding the types and value of your assets and the best ways to distribute them. They can also draft documents that may work in place of a will, such as a revocable living trust.
When you interview attorneys, ask about their background and experience. It’s important to find an attorney who puts you at ease, as they will be handling sensitive and emotional information. Also, an attorney with state-specific expertise is crucial because laws and probate procedures differ by region.
A trust is a legal instrument that allows the grantor to entrust property or assets to another party (called a trustee) to manage and distribute them according to specific terms. Trusts can be used for many reasons including protecting beneficiaries from creditors, reducing or eliminating estate taxes, providing for special needs individuals, and avoiding probate.
A good estate planning attorney will have experience with state and federal laws affecting trusts and estates. It is also important that they be current with changes to statutes and have strategic know-how when preparing documents for clients. You should ask prospective attorneys how long they have been practicing and whether or not they specialize in estates. You should also find out if they work at a firm that has the resources to support complex cases.
Powers of Attorney
A power of attorney is a legal document that empowers your agent to make financial, medical, or other life decisions on your behalf. A lawyer can help you decide who to name as your agent and prepare a document that will be effective when needed.
An experienced estate planning lawyer will be current with changes to state laws and have the strategic know-how to word your documents for maximum effectiveness. They may also be able to advise you on strategies to minimize property subject to probate proceedings.
Your estate planning attorney should welcome your questions, be able to explain complicated topics in simple terms, and make you feel comfortable. If they do not, consider looking elsewhere. It is important to find an estate planner who will provide you with the highest quality legal work.
Health Care Directives
A health care directive is a legal document that specifies your medical treatment wishes and names an agent to make healthcare decisions for you if you are not able to speak for yourself. It can include specific instructions about life-prolonging measures such as a feeding tube, ventilator or artificial heart.
Discussing your health care wishes and making health care directives can be a sensitive topic for families. An experienced attorney will be able to help you broach the subject and ensure your family members understand what you want.
Each state has different requirements for the content, signing and revocation of advance directives. It is recommended that you review your advance directives every few years or after significant life changes and update them accordingly. This will reduce the chances of disputes over your wishes in the future.
Do you want to get help from an experienced lawyer? Find one today.