Having an estate plan ensures that your affairs are in order and that your wishes are followed when you’re no longer around. There are many benefits to consulting an attorney when you begin your estate planning journey.
Importance of Estate Planning
- Preparing for the future – you and your loved ones will be taken care of if the unexpected occurs
- Avoiding probate – proper estate planning often makes probate unnecessary, which saves you time and money
- Minimizing family conflict – having your wishes in writing helps to reduce disputes between family members
- Making beneficiary designations – you can document whom you would like to leave your things to and when you would like them to receive their inheritance
- Getting your financial affairs in order – with a comprehensive estate plan, you’re able to tie up any loose ends you may have
Benefits of Consulting an Estate Planning Attorney
An estate planning attorney can:
Tailor your estate plan to your needs
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to estate planning. By consulting an attorney, you can discuss different options and decide which legal documents are necessary for your specific situation.
Help you avoid probate
Estate planning attorneys know which methods are best for avoiding probate. They can help you create a Living Trust, which protects your assets from probate. Probate can be a nightmare and lead to conflict, court, creditors, and extra costs for your loved ones.
Help you plan for incapacity
Since incapacity can happen to anyone at any time, incapacity planning is an essential part of estate planning. An attorney can assist you in establishing an Advance Healthcare Directive and Durable Financial Power of Attorney in the event that you are unable to make medical or financial decisions for yourself and need medical care.
Help you avoid common estate planning mistakes
Attorneys know exactly what should and shouldn’t be included in an estate plan. They are experienced in writing estate plans so that your wishes are documented clearly and accurately. This helps to avoid potential future conflicts as well.
Help reduce tax liabilities
When transferring assets, you or your beneficiaries might be met with tax issues. An estate planning attorney stays informed on legislative changes (such as Prop 19 in California) and can help you avoid undesirable outcomes.
Offer an objective point of view
The estate planning process may cause disagreements between family members and requires discussion about sensitive subjects. An attorney can offer an objective point of view that isn’t biased towards your situation or family members. They can also help you talk to your loved ones about difficult topics such as your plans for incapacity and burial instructions.
Update your documents as you go through life changes
It’s crucial to keep your estate planning documents up-to-date. An attorney who is familiar with your plan and documents can easily modify them. A good rule to follow is to update your documents as you go through significant changes, such as marriage, divorce, and having children.
Be a resource for your loved ones
More than 60% of adults in America don’t have an estate plan. With that in mind, if you’ve had a good experience with your estate planning attorney, consider sharing their information with your loved ones and friends who have yet to begin their estate plan. This way, the people you care about will be taken care of by someone you trust, and you can take the opportunity to strengthen your relationship with your attorney.
An estate plan allows you to prepare for the future, avoid probate and potential family conflicts, and make sure your affairs are in order. Consulting an attorney during this process can be very helpful. An attorney can work with you to create a custom plan that avoids common mistakes, help you plan for incapacity, offer an objective point of view, and be a resource for the people you care about as well.