We might not like to think about it, but a day will come when we're no longer here. When you're no longer able to manage your own affairs for any reason, you'll still want to make sure that your will is enacted.
Most people know that it's important to have a will, but they don't realize how important it is to have an estate lawyer involved in the planning process.
If you want to be sure that everything will hold up in a court of law, or even if you just want a second opinion, an attorney is always worth the investment. Read on for seven reasons you should hire an estate planning attorney.
1. Estate Planning Is More Than Just a Will
Once you've drafted your last will and testament, estate planning doesn't stop there. It's an ongoing process that can change as new things happen in your life.
Maybe you acquire new property, or your children begin to have grandchildren. How will you take these changes into account?
You'll need to review your estate plan every few years to be sure you don't want to change or update your beneficiaries, your will is still accurate, and you're still compliant with state law. An attorney can help to walk you through this process and make sure all of your bases are covered.
2. Laws Are Changing
Attorneys can also help to ensure that your estate planning is still legally binding. States change and revise their laws, so the plan that was drawn up five years ago might not be as effective today.
No one expects for people outside of the legal field to have the time to sit and pore over laws and legislation to see how it affects their personal estates. That's quite literally a full-time job -- and why people hire estate attorneys.
Once you find someone you trust, you can rely on them to let you know if you need to make any changes.
3. Get An Objective Opinion
We ask for second opinions on many things in our lives, everything from living room paint colors to our next career move. Why wouldn't we want a second opinion on something as important as estate planning?
It can be hard to ask people about this because it's so deeply personal. Family members who are named as your beneficiaries also might only tell you to do things that would benefit them.
An estate attorney can give you an objective opinion on your plan and help you see any potential drawbacks or flaws. Since this is an emotional process for you, too, it's handy to have another pair of eyes.
4. Navigate Complicated Situations
Estate planning isn't as simple as saying who should get the good china when you're gone. There are lots of situations that could make your planning a little more complicated.
Do you own multiple properties? Have you been married more than once? What if you want to give some of your money to charity?
Any of these would make the planning process hard. More than one...well, you can see how that would go.
An estate attorney can help to navigate complex situations and help you make sure that you design the outcome you want.
5. Minimize Your Estate Taxes
Chances are you probably want as much of your money and assets to go to your family and loved ones as possible. This is difficult to ensure when estate taxes are an unfortunate reality of life.
On your own, it's going to be hard to figure out how you can work within the law to minimize your estate taxes. Tax law is famous for being complicated and we all only have so many hours in the day.
Instead, work with a professional who can help you see how to reduce the amount of your estate that will go to taxes, ensuring that more of your money is kept within the family.
6. Set Up a Trust
If you have younger children, you might want to set up a trust to make sure that they're taken care of in case you pass away. This is a little bit more complicated than just leaving money to your kids since they can't be responsible for it until they become adults.
If you want to make sure that what you leave to your beneficiaries is managed well, you'll want to set up a trust. With the help of an attorney, you can customize this to whatever your needs are.
You can set aside certain amounts for each child, or make sure that certain requirements are met before they access the money. You can also keep the money safe from guardians as well, to make sure that the money really only goes to the people you love.
7. Plan for Your Business
If you own a business, you'll need to include that in your estate planning, too. This is another factor that can make planning a major headache -- which is where attorneys are so helpful.
You're going to need to either account for your share of the business or the entire thing in your estate plan. (If you're self-employed, that can sometimes count as owning a business, too.)
Whether you want to make sure that your business is run a certain way or you're trying to make sure your family still has a monetary stake in the business after you're gone, an attorney can help you make this happen.
Get Help from an Estate Planning Attorney
When we reach the end of our lives, we don't just want to be content that we've lived a full and happy life. We also want to be sure that we've provided for our families the best that we can.
Your estate is too important to leave to chance. Hiring an estate planning attorney helps to make sure that your will is enacted, no matter how complex or confusing your situation might be.
We can help you address all of your needs. Schedule a free consultation today to discover how we can work together.