- Your home, apartment, and other property
- Your checking and saving accounts
- Vehicles such as your car
- Life insurance
- Any other possessions you may have
Unfortunately, when you pass away, you won’t be able to hold onto any of these items. However, you can dictate what happens to these items, such as by deciding to give them to your children, donate to a certain cause or charity, etc. To make this process easier, you’ll want an estate plan. This legal plan can detail who will receive these assets and at what time. However, navigating estate planning law can be difficult, so hiring an estate planning attorney is a good idea. We’ll explore some of the top reasons why.
- An Attorney Can Help You and Your Family Avoid Probate
While sometimes your loved ones will still need to go through the probate process even with an estate plan, it’ll definitely be less frustrating. The probate process essentially means the court system determines who gets certain possessions after a person passes away. This process can be very expensive and take up to two years. However, with an estate plan, it’s possible to avoid this step of the process altogether.
- An Estate Plan Does Much More Than Protect Your Assets
There’s much more to an estate plan than just deciding who gets your assets and when. An attorney can also help provide you with other crucial elements, including:
- A will or trust
- Guardianship nomination if you have minor children
- Power of attorney
- Medical directives—for example, what to do if you’re on life support
- General assignment
These are all crucial components that can help you and your family.
- They Ensure You Have All the Necessary Requirements
You’ll want your estate plan to be ironclad so that there are no misinterpretations and that the plan follows strict federal and state laws. Using the wrong word, misdating a document, or missing a signature somewhere can result in your assets not properly being passed to your beneficiaries or other issues. While it’s possible to do your estate plan yourself, it’s far from recommended.
- A Lawyer Can Help You Reduce Any Tax Liabilities
Your estate might be liable for federal estate taxes. This liability will depend upon several factors, including:
- If your estate is eligible to take any deductions
- If you owe any debt after you pass away
- The total gross value of your estate
- The total expenses incurred at the time of settling your estate
- They Can Help You See Objectively
The process of planning your estate can be an emotional time. Also, your family members will be emotional when you pass away. An attorney can help you make sound, objective decisions and provide your family with objectivity.