Most of us prefer not to think about death, or the its implications for our possessions and finances. However, it happens to everyone eventually, and if you are not prepared, you could find that your belongings and wealth go to the state, rather than to your loved ones. One of the best ways to ensure that this does not happen is to work with an estate planning attorney. What do these lawyers do? Actually, they can provide a very broad range of services depending on your situation, your needs, and how diverse your assets are.
Services Offered by an Estate Planning Attorney
While most estate planning attorneys will provide the services discussed below, all do not, necessarily. You will need to consult with individual lawyers in your area on the services offered, and how they can help you plan your estate.
One of the most important reasons to work with a competent estate planning attorney is to mitigate or even eliminate the estate tax. This is the money due from your estate at your death to the state and federal governments. With the proper planning and smart decisions in terms of estate vehicles, you can limit your tax liability, or even eliminate it completely in some instances. A qualified attorney will be able to explain your options, as well as the limits of tax liability mitigation.
Accounts and Plans
Chances are good that you have an IRA, a 401(k), or some other type of retirement plan. You may also have a brokerage account, a valuable insurance policy and other assets. These can and should be put into trusts or other entities so that they can be transferred to your beneficiaries with the least amount of difficulty. The right structure is required, and a qualified attorney will be able to explain what is necessary and create the best trust for your situation.
An estate planning attorney can help create the right plan for distributing your property to those you care most about. If you do not have a plan in place, this will be left to a probate attorney, and there is no guarantee that the distribution will be equitable or in line with your final wishes.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to trusts, and you may need to create any number of special forms, from irrevocable trusts to many others. Your attorney can explain the benefits of each type and help craft the best estate plan for your specific situation.
Meet State Guidelines
All estates must meet specific state guidelines and regulations. If they do not, then you will incur additional costs and additional time will be needed to disburse your estate. It is even possible that your estate will end up in probate. A skilled estate planning attorney can help ensure that all government regulations and requirements are met to avoid these pitfalls.
These are just a few of the areas that a skilled estate planning attorney can assist you. The most important takeaway is to find a qualified, understanding lawyer that can best assist you in getting that estate plan in order.