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b2ap3_thumbnail_will.jpgWhat Should I Ask an Attorney that Handles Probate and Estate Planning?

Ask about their experience; ask them how many probates have they handled in the last 10 years, and ask if they’ve been sued for one.

Questions to Ask

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Many probate and estate planning attorneys act as if everyone should have a trust yet most Americans don’t even have a simple hand written will. Given that trusts can easily cost thousands of dollars in legal fees, it’s a big purchase that shouldn’t be taken lightly, consider the consequences if you do not have a proper trust:

Living Trust vs. Will

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Importance-of-Estate-Planning.jpgWhat are the advantages to estate planning?

By taking the time and effort necessary to plan your estate, you will be able to:

  1. Provide for your immediate family
    Couples want to provide enough money for the surviving spouse. Couples with children want to assure their education and upbringing. If you have children under 18, both you and your spouse should have a will nominating personal guardians for the children, in case you both should die before they grow up. Otherwise, a court will decide without your input where your kids will live and who will make important decisions about their money, education, and way of life.
  2. Get your property to beneficiaries quickly
    Options include insurance paid directly to beneficiaries, joint tenancy, and living trusts, as well as using simplified or expedited probate and taking advantage of laws that provide partial payments to beneficiaries while a will is in probate.
  3. Plan for incapacity
    During estate planning, you can also plan for possible mental or physical incapacity. Living wills and durable health-care powers of attorney enable you to decide in advance about life support and pick someone to make decisions for you about medical treatment.
  4. Minimize expenses
    Good estate planning can keep the cost of transferring property to beneficiaries as low as possible, leaving more money for your beneficiaries.
  5. Choose executors/trustees for your estate
    Choosing competent executors/trustees and giving them the necessary authority will save money, reduce the burden on your survivors, and simplify administration of your estate.
  6. Ease the strain on your family
    You can take a burden from your grieving survivors and plan your funeral arrangements when planning your estate. Or you may want to simply limit the expense of your burial or designate its place.
  7. Help a favorite cause
    Your estate plan can help support religious, educational, and other charitable causes, either during your lifetime or upon your death, and at the same time take advantage of tax laws designed to encourage private philanthropy.
  8. Reduce taxes on your estate
    Every dollar your estate has to pay in estate or inheritance taxes is a dollar that your beneficiaries won't get. A good estate plan can give the maximum allowed by law to your beneficiaries and the minimum to the government.
  9. Provide for people who need help and guidance
    Do you have an elderly parent or disabled child, or a grandchild whose education you want to assure? You could establish a special trust fund for family members who need support that you won't be there to provide.
  10. Make sure your business continues smoothly
    If you have a small business, you can provide for an orderly succession and continuation of its affairs by spelling out what will happen to your interest in the business.

 

Tagged in: Estate Planning
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b2ap3_thumbnail_estateplanning.jpgA thorough estate plan should be designed to avoid probate, save on estate taxes, appoint someone to act for you if you become disabled, and protect assets if you need to move into a nursing home.

A will is only one element of a complete estate plan. All estate plans should also include a durable power of attorney. A trust is useful to avoid probate and manage your estate during your life and after. Medical directives and beneficiary designations are supplements you should consider.

Power of Attorney

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The list of reasons supporting the consideration of consulting with an "Estate Planning Attorney" is long and an important consideration by those of us wanting to assure that our assets get divided and passed on to our loved ones and others in a way that reflects your wishes.

It may look like a term for people of considerate wealth, but everyone has an “estate.”

In fact, your car, home, other real estate, investments, checking account, and even furniture and other personal possession comprise your estate. Naturally, you cannot keep these things when you pass away, but you can control how your estate is given to the loved ones and organizations you care about. In short, estate planning is a clear set of instructions that dictate whom you want to receive something of yb2ap3_thumbnail_denver-estate-planning.jpgours, what they’ll be receiving, and when and how they’ll receive these items. An “Estate Planning Attorney“ plays a key role in ensuring that your estate is fully and clearly drafted, and for when that day comes, an attorney provides proper management and distribution of the estate.

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