June 16, 2024

Estate Planning Attorney for Wills and Trusts

Estate planning involves creating a set of legal documents that ensure your assets are distributed according to your wishes after your death. Working with an experienced estate planning attorney is crucial to ensure your estate plan meets your unique needs and goals.

An estate planning attorney can help you create a will, which outlines how your assets will be distributed after your passing, and a trust, which can manage and protect your assets during your life and after your death. These documents can help minimize estate taxes, avoid probate, and provide for your loved ones.

Here are some of the key benefits of working with an estate planning attorney:

Estate planning attorney for wills and trusts

An estate planning attorney can help you create a will, which outlines how your assets will be distributed after your passing, and a trust, which can manage and protect your assets during your life and after your death.

  • Minimize estate taxes
  • Avoid probate

These documents can help ensure your assets are distributed according to your wishes and that your loved ones are provided for.

Minimize estate taxes

Estate taxes are levied on the value of your estate when you pass away. The federal estate tax exemption is currently $12.92 million per individual ($25.84 million for married couples), meaning that estates below this value are not subject to federal estate tax. However, some states have their own estate taxes with lower exemption amounts.

An estate planning attorney can help you minimize estate taxes by using various strategies, such as:

  • Creating a trust. Trusts can be used to transfer assets out of your estate, thereby reducing the value of your estate and minimizing estate taxes.
  • Making gifts. You can make gifts to your loved ones during your lifetime, which will reduce the value of your estate and potentially avoid estate taxes on those assets.
  • Taking advantage of deductions and exemptions. There are a number of deductions and exemptions that can be used to reduce your estate tax liability, such as the marital deduction and the charitable deduction.

By working with an estate planning attorney, you can develop a plan that will minimize estate taxes and ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes.

Avoid probate

Probate is the legal process of administering an estate after someone has passed away. It can be a lengthy and expensive process, and it can also expose your estate to public scrutiny.

  • Probate can be avoided by creating a trust. Trusts are legal entities that can own and manage assets. When you create a trust, you transfer your assets to the trust, and the trustee (the person who manages the trust) distributes the assets according to your wishes after you pass away. Because trusts are not subject to probate, they can save your estate time and money.
  • Probate can also be avoided by using joint ownership. When you own property jointly with someone else, the property will automatically pass to the surviving joint owner upon your death. This can be a simple way to avoid probate, but it is important to note that joint ownership can have other legal implications, such as giving the surviving joint owner complete control over the property.
  • Probate can also be avoided by using payable-on-death accounts. Payable-on-death accounts are bank accounts or investment accounts that are payable to a designated beneficiary upon your death. This can be a simple way to avoid probate, but it is important to note that payable-on-death accounts are not always recognized by all states.
  • Probate can also be avoided by using life insurance. Life insurance proceeds are not subject to probate, so they can be used to provide for your loved ones without going through the probate process.

By working with an estate planning attorney, you can develop a plan that will avoid probate and ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes.

FAQ

Here are some frequently asked questions about estate planning attorneys for wills and trusts:

Question 1: What is an estate planning attorney?
Estate planning attorneys are lawyers who specialize in helping individuals and families plan for the distribution of their assets after death. They can help you create a will, trust, and other estate planning documents that will ensure your wishes are carried out.

Question 2: Why do I need an estate planning attorney?
An estate planning attorney can help you avoid probate, minimize estate taxes, and ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes. They can also help you plan for incapacity and long-term care.

Question 3: What are the benefits of having a will?
A will allows you to specify how your assets will be distributed after your death. It also allows you to name an executor who will be responsible for carrying out your wishes.

Question 4: What are the benefits of having a trust?
A trust is a legal entity that can own and manage assets. Trusts can be used to avoid probate, minimize estate taxes, and provide for your loved ones after your death.

Question 5: How much does it cost to hire an estate planning attorney?
The cost of hiring an estate planning attorney will vary depending on the complexity of your estate and the attorney’s fees. However, most attorneys offer free consultations so that you can discuss your needs and get an estimate of the cost.

Question 6: How do I find a good estate planning attorney?
There are a few things you can do to find a good estate planning attorney. You can ask for recommendations from friends or family, or you can search for attorneys in your area who specialize in estate planning. You should also interview several attorneys to find one who you feel comfortable with and who you believe can meet your needs.

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Estate planning is an important part of financial planning. By working with an estate planning attorney, you can ensure that your wishes are carried out and that your loved ones are provided for after your death.

Here are a few tips for finding a good estate planning attorney:

Tips

Here are a few tips for finding a good estate planning attorney:

Tip 1: Ask for recommendations. One of the best ways to find a good estate planning attorney is to ask for recommendations from friends, family, or other professionals. If someone you trust has had a good experience with an estate planning attorney, they are likely to be a good choice for you as well.

Tip 2: Look for an attorney who specializes in estate planning. Not all attorneys are created equal. When you are looking for an estate planning attorney, it is important to find one who specializes in this area of law. Estate planning is a complex area of law, and you want to be sure that your attorney is knowledgeable and experienced.

Tip 3: Interview several attorneys. Once you have found a few potential estate planning attorneys, it is important to interview them to find the one who is the best fit for you. During your interview, be sure to ask about the attorney’s experience, fees, and approach to estate planning.

Tip 4: Get a written agreement. Once you have chosen an estate planning attorney, be sure to get a written agreement that outlines the scope of the attorney’s services and the fees that you will be charged.

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By following these tips, you can increase your chances of finding a good estate planning attorney who can help you create a plan that meets your needs.

Estate planning is an important part of financial planning. By working with a good estate planning attorney, you can ensure that your wishes are carried out and that your loved ones are provided for after your death.

Conclusion

Estate planning is an important part of financial planning. By working with an estate planning attorney, you can ensure that your wishes are carried out and that your loved ones are provided for after your death.

Summary of Main Points:

  • An estate planning attorney can help you create a will, which outlines how your assets will be distributed after your passing, and a trust, which can manage and protect your assets during your life and after your death.
  • Estate planning attorneys can help you minimize estate taxes, avoid probate, and provide for your loved ones.
  • When choosing an estate planning attorney, it is important to ask for recommendations, look for an attorney who specializes in estate planning, interview several attorneys, and get a written agreement.

Closing Message:

Estate planning is not something that you should put off. By working with an estate planning attorney, you can create a plan that will protect your assets and ensure that your wishes are carried out.

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