Remember that house you bought recently as an investment.
Have you thought about who you plan on giving it to when you are old and on your deathbed?
Well, you should! And for that, you need to think about Estate Planning.
In simple words, Estate Planning refers to the process of planning who gets what when you eventually move from this realm into the next.
What’s more important than Estate Planning is that you plan it right.
It may seem like a daunting task, and you’re not wrong. It really is a daunting task! But having an Estate Planning Attorney by your side can make things easier.
Here’s why you should hire an Estate Planning Attorney to do your Estate Planning.
1. Want To Avoid Probate? You Got It
Before your Will is enforced, it goes to court to be proven as valid. This process is called probate.
Usually, the probate proceedings are incredibly lengthy and drag on for months together and sometimes even years. They are also extremely expensive.
Even for the most open and shut cases, attorney and legal fees can go as much as up to 5 percent of the total estate value.
Another issue is that probate proceedings are public in nature and so your financial information is out in the open for anyone interested. Agents like creditors or relatives could potentially challenge your Will with the information in the open.
An Estate Planning Attorney has immense experience with probate proceedings and can ensure that the information is kept private. A good attorney will also get the nominees a grant of probate without much legal hassle and also help in doing the complicated paperwork and guide them through all the legal processes to get the desired outcome.
An Estate Planning Attorney generally works with the client for life. He takes care of the property and all its financial aspects for the client.
For example, the attorney has knowledge of the client’s property, income, expenses, debt, etc. Over time as these things change, the lawyer can help you update the plan or change the plan to reflect the new circumstances.
Before any property is passed down, it is subject to certain taxes called estate taxes. A good Estate Planning Attorney can take advantage of federal and state tax exemptions to keep taxes to a minimum.
3. No Grey Areas
The whole reason someone plans an estate is to ensure there are no gray areas that could potentially cause legal issues. An attorney who has the experience and who has assisted in making numerous previous Wills can help in making an airtight plan which has no discrepancy whatsoever about who gets what.
This is extremely important if there are minors or mentally or physically disabled individuals to whom you wish to hand some part of your estate. The plan must be airtight so that no one can take advantage of any loopholes and challenge the Will.
4. If You Really Think About It, It Is Less Expensive
Okay, I agree, Estate Planning Lawyers aren’t exactly cheap to hire.
But if you don’t plan an estate properly, tomorrow those mentioned in your Will may have to pay exponentially more in terms of legal fees and attorney’s fees to prove their claim on the property.
It is better to pay a little right now and hire an attorney and get legal help while planning the estate instead of creating problems for those who will receive the Will.
It is also not recommended to use a DIY template however simple your Estate Planning may be. A template is not capable of understanding the unique situation and needs you may be in. Only a human can do that.
Therefore, it is the recommendation of all industry experts to consult an estate lawyer before planning an estate.
5. Reduces Friction
We have all seen that stereotypical movie scene where the family members of a billionaire are arguing bitterly among themselves about who should have gotten what part of his estate.
Having an individual who has drafted many Wills and planned many estates not only reduces your stress while planning the estate but also reduces friction and prevents misunderstandings between family members. The unnecessary squabbles can be avoided.
You will not need to worry about whether or not your last wishes were respected because the attorney created an airtight Will.
6. Not Just For Wealth
An attorney can also help you draft documents like Power of Attorney and other legal documents that you may require in the unfortunate situation, you end up with an illness that renders you unable to handle your affairs.
7. Legal Guardianship
The attorney can also help mention in clear terms in your Will who you would want to be the guardian of your children in the situation that both parents pass away suddenly.
Without such a document the court steps in to decide on the guardian. Unnecessary expenses and court procedures can be avoided with the help of an Estate Planning Attorney.
8. Prenuptial Agreements
An Estate Planning Attorney can also help in drafting a prenuptial agreement that is fair and thorough to both parties. Although no couple marries each other thinking they will one day divorce each other, the divorce rates are unfortunately high enough to justify getting a prenup.
It’s not like the movies where only the wealthy and the powerful use the services offered by Estate Planning lawyers. You don’t need to be a billionaire or have 10 different properties in the bank to require an Estate Planning lawyer.
Having a legal professional while planning your estate removes a lot of confusion, complication and unnecessary future legal trouble from the equation. You can save time and effort by hiring an experienced lawyer and have the confidence that those named in the Will shall not have to face any legal hassle because of an improperly planned estate.
Having professional help will ensure that nothing is left to chance and that you will have the peace of mind that will let you rest in peace.