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Estate planning is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your loved ones. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most neglected aspects of financial planning. The good news is that with the help of an estate planning attorney, you can ensure that your assets and your family are protected in the event of death or incapacitation. This guide will cover everything you need about the estate planning attorney near you.
Why Do You Need an Estate Planning Attorney?
While it’s possible to create an estate plan on your own using online resources, there are many advantages to working with an estate planning attorney. For one, an attorney can help ensure your estate plan is legally sound and considers all relevant laws and regulations. Additionally, an attorney can help you navigate the complexities of estate planning, including tax issues, trust formation, and more.
What Does an Estate Planning Attorney Do?
An estate planning attorney can help you create a comprehensive estate plan that includes a will, trusts, powers of attorney, and other essential documents. They can also guide estate and gift tax issues and help you minimize tax liability. Additionally, an estate planning attorney can help you navigate the probate process and ensure your assets are distributed according to your wishes.
A will is a legal document outlining how your assets will be distributed upon death. In a will, you can name an executor to manage your estate, designate guardians for any minor children, and specify how your assets should be distributed. It’s important to note that a will only cover assets in your name alone, so if you have assets in joint tenancy or a trust, they will not be covered by your will.
A trust is a legal contract where a trustee controls and owns acquisitions on behalf of a beneficiary. There are many types of trusts, each with unique advantages and disadvantages. A revocable living trust, for example, allows you to maintain control over your assets during your lifetime while providing a mechanism for their transfer after your death. On the other hand, an irrevocable trust can be used to minimize your estate tax liability.
- Powers of Attorney
A power of attorney is a legal record allowing an individual to act on your behalf. There are two main types of powers of attorney: a durable power of attorney and a healthcare power of attorney. A durable power of attorney allows someone else to manage your financial affairs in the event of incapacity. On the other hand, a healthcare power of attorney allows someone else to make healthcare decisions for you if you cannot.
Probate is the legal process of administering someone’s estate after they die. It involves proving the validity of a will, paying debts and taxes, identifying and valuing assets, and distributing assets to beneficiaries. Depending on the size of the estate and other factors, probate can be a complex and time-consuming process. Working with an estate planning attorney can help ensure the probate process goes smoothly, and your wishes are fulfilled.
- Estate and Gift Tax
Estate and gift tax are two types of taxes that can impact your estate plan. An estate tax is a tax on transferring assets at death, while a gift tax is a tax on gifts made during your lifetime. The estate tax exemption is currently $11.7 million per individual (as of 2021), so most people will not have to pay estate tax. However, knowing your estate plan’s potential tax implications and working with an estate planning attorney to minimize your tax liability is essential.
Estate planning can be a complex and daunting process. However, with the help of an experienced estate planning attorney, it can also be a reassuring and empowering experience. By working together, you can create a comprehensive plan that protects your assets, provides for your loved ones, and ensures your legacy for generations. Don’t wait; start planning today with the guidance of a trusted estate planning attorney.