Many of us invest blood, sweat and tears over many decades to secure a comfortable lifestyle for us and our loved ones during and after our retirement years. Unfortunately, not nearly as many of us take the key steps needed to ensure that our legacy is preserved, and our assets are distributed as we want after we pass. Though not a pleasant topic to ponder, it’s an important one. And, by selecting an experienced legal professional whom you trust, you can prepare for the future without a lot of stress or worry.
Without advanced planning and proper documentation, your desires upon death may not be heeded. If fact, nearly half of your assets could be spent on taxes, and your spouse and family could end up with far less than you had hoped for. Absent signed documents providing specific direction on how your assets will be distributed, your estate could be settled by courts and state authorities who have little regard for your wishes.
Benefits of Estate Planning. Here are just a few ways you could benefit from creating an estate plan.
- Your desires for distributing your assets will be carried out.
- Your wishes to leave part of your estate to a charity will be granted.
- If you own a business, your detailed plans for succession will be honored.
- Your estate taxes will be reduced or eliminated.
- Your selection(s) for guardians of your minor children will be honored.
- Your choice for an executor to oversee your estate will be granted.
Why hire an attorney? While a lawyer is not necessarily needed to prepare your will, an experienced estate planning attorney can advise you on a broad range of end-of-life legal issues that you may not have thought of, such as preparing a living will and durable and health power of attorney documents, establishing trusts, avoiding unnecessary probate taxes, and more.
Qualified estate planning attorneys are well acquainted with state and federal laws that impact how your estate will be inventoried, valued, dispersed and taxed upon your death. Some general practice attorneys may not have the expertise or experience to help you. That’s why you should consider hiring a lawyer that devotes full-time work to estate planning. This is the person who will represent you and your wishes and protect your interests, so it should be a person you know and trust implicitly.