Anyone with assets and family will probably need to address estate planning at some point. But this may not be a priority until later in life.
An estate planning attorney could help by advising you on the best ways to protect your legacy and loved ones if something unfortunate were to happen. If you have significant assets, marriage, divorce, or the birth of a child could trigger estate planning needs that an attorney can assist with.
Depending on your circumstances, an estate planning attorney can guide you through various documents, trusts, and other measures to safeguard your assets from unnecessary taxes, heirs from unknown strangers, or other negative consequences after your death. Here is what you need to know about finding an estate planning attorney and what they do.
How to Find an Estate Planning Attorney?
The best way to find an estate planning attorney is to ask people you trust. If you know someone who has used an attorney for estate planning, you can ask them for recommendations.
You can also ask friends and family if they know of any good attorneys in your area. If you don’t know anyone personally, you can search online for estate planning attorneys in your area. You should be able to find a list of attorneys who specialize in estate planning.
By looking at testimonials and other online reviews, you can get a better idea of how people feel about the services provided by each attorney. As you’re looking for an attorney, keep in mind that some are generalists, which means that they can help with a wide range of issues. Others specialize in certain areas, such as taxes or real estate law.
If you have a particular concern that you need help with, you should find an attorney who specializes in that area.
Check Licensing and Reputation
Make sure the estate planning attorney whom you choose is licensed to practice law in your state. In addition to this, you may also want to ensure that the attorney you choose has experience with the type of estate planning you require.
Finally, it is equally important that you check the attorney’s reputation, as this will reveal insights into how previous clients have rated the attorney’s services.
The Importance of a Will
A will is one of the most important documents an estate planning attorney will help you with. It details how your assets are divided after your death. In many cases, a will be recognized as the final word on how assets are distributed.
Without a will, the state you live in will decide who gets your assets after your death. This could mean your assets go to strangers. A will lets you dictate how your assets are distributed.
A will is not a good choice for every situation, however. If you have minor children, a will may not be the best approach. A will would name a guardian for your children, but some states won’t let you appoint a guardian for minors.
Also, a will isn’t the best choice if you have a significant amount of debt. If you owe lots of money but have assets you want to pass along to your loved ones, a will may not be the best way to do it.
Why Trusts Are Important
In addition to a will, an estate planning attorney can also help you create a trust. A trust is a legal document that lets you manage the distribution of assets in a certain way. Trusts are particularly important for people with large estates.
They can help reduce the amount of taxes you have to pay on your assets. Trusts can also help you protect your assets from creditors. Trusts are also useful for people who are concerned about future generations. You can name a trust as the beneficiary of certain assets.
This gives your future heirs the benefit of the assets without placing them into the hands of creditors or the government.
Asset Protection Strategies
There are many ways to protect your assets while you are still alive, but there are also ways to protect them after you die. By working with an estate planning attorney, you may be able to employ the following strategies to protect your assets:
- Life insurance – Life insurance policies can be used to pay off debts and provide for loved ones after your death.
- Wills and trusts – Wills and trusts can be used to specify what happens to your assets after you die.
- Asset diversification – You can protect your assets by investing in a variety of different types of assets.
- Special needs trusts – If you are caring for a loved one with special needs, this trust can help you protect the assets you have left after paying for their care.
Final Words: Where to Find the Right Attorney
Finding the right estate planning attorney for you and your family can be challenging. Choosing the wrong attorney could end up costing you time and money.
To ensure you find the right attorney, look for an attorney who is certified in estate planning and who is familiar with the issues that affect your family.
When you find this person, make sure you are comfortable with them and confident that they can help you with your needs. From there, you can work with your attorney to put together a plan that keeps your loved ones protected.