An estate planning attorney specializes in assisting interested individuals in getting their affairs into order so that they can ensure that events will proceed in a desired manner in the event of either their death or their incapacitation. Having an estate planning attorney is critical because they possess specialized expertise and experience for said role, meaning that they can be relied upon in this regard in a way that other lawyers cannot. Simply put, experts are better than generalists, which is why estate planning attorneys are a must for estate planning. Here are 10 critical roles of an estate planning attorney:
1. Avoid Probate
According to Findlaw, an estate planning attorney can help interested individuals avoid probate. In short, probate is the process by which a will is proved to be the last testament of the deceased in a court of law, which can take up a fair amount of time. As such, some people might be interested in either avoiding this process or minimizing it as much as possible for their heirs.
2. Minimize Estate Taxes
Generally speaking, people are less than enthusiastic about paying taxes, with estate taxes being no exception to this rule. Due to this, some people might want to minimize the estate taxes that their heirs will have to pay, in which case, the expertise and experience of an estate planning attorney can prove very useful because they should have the best understanding of how estate taxes are charged. According to Lawyer in Blue Jeans, considering the sums that are involved, the services of a good estate planning attorney can make a huge difference in the outcome for the interested individual’s heirs.
3. Make Sure that the Will Is Valid
Wills are very important documents. As a result, they are supposed to undergo a fair amount of scrutiny to make sure that everything is as it should be. Unfortunately, this means that if an interested individual makes a mistake, that mistake could cause either a part of the will or the whole will to become invalidated, thus ruining their estate planning efforts. By having an estate planning attorney on hand, interested individuals can make sure that everything will proceed as they have desired.
4. Get a Customized Will
Speaking of which, interested individuals should have no problems finding a template for a will by using the Internet. However, templates are just templates, meaning that they cannot hope to accommodate the full range of people with the full range of circumstances out there. Due to this, if someone wants a customized will that will accommodate all of their circumstances, they are going to need an estate planning attorney to help them draft a custom will instead of attempting to make changes to a template on their own.
5. Help in Choosing the Right Legal Instruments for the Right Situations
People who are conducting estate planning can choose from a wide range of legal instruments by which to secure their desired outcome. However, choosing between these options is much easier said than done, whether because interested individuals might not know about all of them or because interested individuals might not known all of them inside and out. This means that if someone wants to choose the right legal instruments for the right situations when it comes to estate planning, they are going to need an estate planning attorney to help them throughout the process.
6. Keep Up with the Latest Laws
The relevant laws for estate planning are changing on a regular basis. As a result, interested individuals need to keep up with them because they can have important consequences for their desired outcomes. Unfortunately, this calls for a massive expenditure of time and effort on their part, which is why it is much easier for them to get assistance from an estate planning attorney whose job includes said responsibility by default.
7. Know When to Update the Estate Plan
On a related note, the services of an estate planning attorney means that interested individuals can get informed about something that should be particularly important to them and their estate planning needs. Something that should tell them when they should update their estate plan so that they can ensure getting either their desired outcome or the next best thing to it.
8. Establish a Living Trust
HG.org points out that an estate planning attorney can be very helpful for establishing a living trust. Essentially, living trust are meant to let interested individuals entrust the management of certain assets to a trustee for the benefit of a third individual, thus making them a convenient way for the interested individuals to transfer their assets. In other words, living trusts can be useful tools for people interested in estate planning. However, they shouldn’t be used unless the interested individuals know what they are doing, which is where an estate planning attorney can step in.
9. Establish Other Kinds of Trusts
Of course, a living trust is far from being the sole kind of trust that can be found out there. Since different kinds of trusts have different upsides and downsides, different kinds of trusts are better-suited for different individuals. Here, an estate planning attorney can help interested individuals by making them aware of their options before helping them out with the proper implementation of their chosen options.
10. Make Sure that Property Is Protected from Potential Predators
Money being money, it should come as no surprise to learn that there are potential predators out there that want to get their hands on people’s estates. Naturally, this means that interested individuals should work with estate planning attorneys to anticipate the most probable threats before implementing measures to defang them so that their estate can go to their designated heirs in the manner of their choosing. In this as in other things, proper preparation is critical for ensuring the desired outcomes.