Why It’s Important To Have An Estate Planning Attorney

Everyone has an estate that usually includes a home, car, real estate, investment, checking and savings accounts, and furniture. All these need to be taken care of when you pass away. Ideally, you want these items to be distributed to the organizations and people that you care about. This is where estate planning comes in handy. This is a legal plan that lists the people you want to get these assets, what they can get, and when they should receive it. 

The truth is that a good estate plan can guarantee that your desires are carried out. This is the reason why you need to hire trust and will litigation lawyers in San Diego. An excellent estate plan needs to have a name of the guardian for your minor kids, protection for your loved ones who may need future protection from creditors, and many more. This post discusses why it’s important to have an estate planning attorney. 

They can assist you to avoid costly and lengthy probate process

Probate refers to a court process that requires transferring a deceased’s estate to their rightful beneficiaries and heirs. It can be quite expensive to go through this process and can sometimes take even 2 years. It’s also a public process, so it can be suitable for those who are ready to go to court to receive copies of the will and other associated legal documents.

With probate, there is some sort of relief and regardless of whether or not you trust this, you need to know that it’s not always necessary to go through it. You can only avoid this process if all your assets are designed to heirs and beneficiaries.

Besides, if your estate has real property reaching a specific amount, they can use a small estate affidavit to transfer your assets to the legal beneficiaries. If you take this method, it’s important to know that some entities can refuse it, leading to an open probate or even litigation. 

Relying on this process can sometimes be risky because it is a two-page affidavit and some entities may not understand how they work and distribute the funds. You can sue a bank to recover the assets, but this doesn’t usually make sense because the assets are of low value, the high litigation costs, and the unwillingness of the banks to spend more money fighting you than settling it.  

As you can see, it can be complicated when it comes to probate and all the issues associated with it. This is why you need to hire an estate planning lawyer who understands the probate process and can assist your family if there is a need. 

An attorney knows the right way to protect you, your assets, and your family

A good estate plan needs to have several documents to make sure that your loved ones don’t have to face some challenges upon your passing. These should include will, trust, power of attorney, general assignment, medical directive, and guardian nomination.

In these documents, there should be specific verbiage that needs to be used. The assets need to be given to those you care a lot. This can include creating some rules to manage specific assets and when an heir can get their inheritance. For instance, you can make a trust for minor children to get assets once they reach a specific age and direct what the trustee needs to pay for.  

If you have children, then a guardianship nomination can be the only evidence a court can have when you pass away. This can show your wishes regarding the person who may take care of your children. Keep in mind that a guardianship nomination is simply a nomination, so the court can vet it before assigning that person.

A missing signature or the use of a wrong word can usually be the reason why your loved ones are not well-protected after your death. Hiring an estate attorney at Albertson & Davidson, LLP can help to make sure that all the corners are covered to allow you to have peace of mind.

An estate planning attorney can save you lots of energy and time

Estate planning can help you to organize all the records and wishes. This may allow your family to find important financial records, insurance policies, titles, and beneficiary designations easily after your passing. Besides, this planning process may also help you to find and even resolve some mistakes and errors while you are still alive to correct them.  

One of the commonest mistakes is usually made while designating beneficiaries. For instance, the tax effect of naming some beneficiaries to get your IRA or even 401(k) can be huge. An estate planning lawyer can also help you avoid some other mistakes like not creating an estate plan, creating an incomplete estate plan, failing to complete the process, leaving some assets out, and many more.

An estate planning lawyer can also remove the stress on you by drafting a complete and accurate estate plan. This can help you to avoid paying more cash when it comes to court costs, professional fees, and taxes. The time an attorney needs to go to court to attempt to fix the estate plan, most of the savings you got by creating your estate plan or even utilizing an online service can be lost. 

An attorney can create an estate plan that takes care of loved ones with special needs

For some people, there can be special circumstances. For instance, you can have a kid with special needs and their public benefits may be lost if they inherit your assets outright. Fortunately, there are specific types of trusts that can be created so that the people with special needs can still get government benefits while they are also getting their inheritance.

But creating a special needs trust the proper way can sometimes be complicated and needs specific knowledge of estate planning. A lawyer who has the experience in estate planning and special needs trusts may assist to make sure that your loved ones are protected. They can also have the benefit of your legacy to top their public benefits.

An estate planning attorney assists you minimize tax liabilities

To determine whether or not your estate attracts federal estate taxes can depend on several factors. These include the value of the gross estate, amount of debt that you owe when you pass away, total expenses you incur while settling the estate, and any deductions your estate needs to take.

From here, you can then calculate the nest estate by subtracting debt, expenses, and any transfers to your spouse from a trust from the gross estate. Then you should subtract the federal estate tax exemption from this net estate. If your estate tax exemption happens to be more than the value of the estate, it means there can be taxes owed.

However, this is not always the case because if the net estate is more than a certain amount, then the value of the exemption amount can be taxed at about 40 percent. This can happen to some people, but the law involving the federal and estate taxes are usually complex. Therefore, you should find an estate planning lawyer to help you to make sure you understand everything connected to these taxes. 

Your estate planning lawyer can update the estate planning documents

Life, circumstances, or even your wishes can change suddenly. This can be because of the birth of a child, divorce, marriage, change in relationships, aging of trustees, or just family dynamics. When there are significant life changes, it’s crucial to update the estate plan so that it can keep on meeting your family’s needs and your wishes. 

Hiring the best estate planning lawyer after any big life change can guarantee that most of your legal documents are regularly updated and show your latest desires and wishes. Hiring an estate planning lawyer can be life-saving because they can assist you to avoid some mistakes. Even better, estate planning lawyers usually have good knowledge involving the estate planning process and they can serve as your advocate. 

It’s also worth noting that estate planning is usually an emotional process. Further, it can be challenging to figure out the right plan because of family dynamics. An estate planning lawyer can bring additional voice of reason to assist you with the present and future needs. They can provide you with an unbiased and direct answer, something that can eventually protect your family over time. 

In conclusion, if you don’t have an estate plan, it means the assets can be distributed using the probate laws through the court. This can or cannot lead to the distribution you choose. With an estate plan, you have the option to keep all family matters in place and private. This allows you to choose the beneficiaries you wish to receive your assets. It’s a good idea to start estate planning early by hiring an estate planning attorney to guide you through the process.