One of the most emotionally draining things that a family can experience is the death of a loved one; particularly if that person was an elderly parent, sibling, or close friend. It’s difficult to determine what your final wishes are when it comes to your family because you have no voice in those discussions. If you want to plan for your estate in a way that respects your wishes and protects your surviving family members, then a probate attorney is your best choice.
An estate planning attorney, also known as a probate lawyer or estate law attorney, is a highly experienced and qualified law professional with a detailed knowledge of both state and federal regulations that affect your estate. An estate planning attorney can assist in the preparation of your will, establish a trust, make sure your beneficiaries receive their inheritances according to the stated will and provide protection for your heirs in the event of your disability or death. They work closely with your tax professional to make sure that you pay the appropriate inheritance taxes. In addition, they may be called upon to make decisions about the distribution of your remaining assets and provide legal advice to your family and/or friends who may need it.
Although the purpose of estate planning is to ensure your financial affairs after you pass away, some people choose to do so because of social obligations, such as for a spouse or child. In these cases, a financial planner can help draft a plan that satisfies the wishes of all concerned while still meeting the requirements of state and federal statutes and laws. If you decide to hire a planning lawyer or attorney to help you with your estate planning, you should be aware that you will likely have to pay for legal consultation; fees can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands depending on the complexity of your situation.
Many people do not realize that inheritance taxes are calculated as part of estate planning lawyers’ fees. Lawyers can calculate the tax-free allowance, which is the amount your family receives after you die, and provide information about estate planning. They can also help you understand any requirements that must be met before you can make a will. Estate planners can also review your insurance policies, your retirement plans, and asset protection strategies. They can also help you deal with creditors, insurance companies, and banks on your behalf to settle any claims they have against you and settle your outstanding debts.
Another option you have for planning your estate is to use a simple trust. A revocable living trust allows you to make rules about the distribution of your assets, including who may access them and how they may be used. You can also decide who may make payments on your accounts if any. Even if you choose to make your estate planning decisions using a trust, you may be required to file an estate tax return to report the sale or transfer of some of your assets to your beneficiaries.
Before making any estate planning decisions, you should consult with a qualified individual, preferably a trusted friend, lawyer, or accountant. If you are incapacitated, you should appoint a health care proxy, which is an individual that the appointing authority provides health care under a power of attorney. This person should be trained in all aspects of incapacitation laws and qualified to give personal advice to you. You may also want to consider having a living will since it clearly states what you want to be done with your assets should you become incapacitated.
This article was written by Alla Tenina. Alla is one of the best estate planning attorneys in Los Angeles California, and the founder of Tenina law. She has experience in bankruptcies, real estate planning, and complex tax matters. The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only. Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information. This website contains links to other third-party websites. Such links are only for the convenience of the reader, user or browser; the ABA and its members do not recommend or endorse the contents of the third-party sites.