Is estate planning something you can do on your own? Or is it better to work with an established wills, trusts, and estates attorney? This is one of the most frequently asked questions we receive here at Singh Law Firm.
At the most basic level, estate planning can be done on a DIY basis. It’s very doable to locate and complete the appropriate forms and documentation.
However, estate planning absent a skilled attorney can have its downsides. In this post, we’ll outline just a few of the reasons why you may be better off working with a wills, trusts, and estates lawyer.
Why Work with a Wills, Trusts, and Estates Lawyer?
1) An attorney can help you identify your estate planning needs.
Estate planning is more complex than it’s often made out to be. It’s not just about determining who gets what when you die! Yes, that’s part of it, but also think about this: How will you ensure that your healthcare wishes are carried out, should you become incapacitated and unable to speak for yourself? A skilled will and trust attorney can help you think through these and other important issues.
2) A will and trust attorney can assist you in alleviating tax burdens.
An oft-overlooked part of estate planning is developing a strategy to minimize the taxes you owe. This allows you to transfer the full value of your estate to the designated beneficiaries. Often, minimizing taxes will require you to set up a trust as well as a will. This is an area where DIY estate planning may come up short. A professional can offer valuable expertise.
3) An attorney can help you find a trustee.
If you do end up establishing a trust, you’ll want to be careful to identify the best, most qualified, most responsible person to serve as trustee. Your attorney can help you determine who that might be, and also provide the chosen person with the right level of “trustee training.” Your attorney may also be able to serve as a trustee for you or provide guidance for managing your estate assets.
4) A living wills lawyer can assist you with end-of-life planning considerations.
Let’s return to our earlier comment about what would happen if you were incapacitated. That’s something everyone should think about during their estate planning process. There are a number of documents that can be helpful here, like the advance healthcare directive, power of attorney, or living will. Make sure you seek the advice of a seasoned living wills lawyer!
5) A lawyer can advise on probate issues.
How do you keep the contents of your estate confidential? And how do you minimize the hassle your beneficiaries are left with? The answer to both questions is to avoid the probate process. Your lawyer can help with this.
6) Your attorney can help keep your estate plan up to date.
There are a number of instances in which you may wish to revise or amend your estate plan. For example, what if you get a divorce? What if you remarry? What if you buy a second home? What if you adopt a child? An estate planning lawyer can assist you in updating your estate plan as needed.
Hire a Skilled Estate Planning Lawyer
While DIY estate planning is possible, it’s not always advisable. There are a number of reasons why it might make sense to work with a lawyer. To speak with an experienced estate planning professional, we welcome you to reach out to Singh Law Firm. Contact us at your next opportunity.
Reasons to Hire a Will and Trust Attorney
One of the most common misconceptions about estate planning is that it’s really all about the will. Many individuals believe that, so long as they create a will and keep it current, their estate planning needs are all taken care of. While wills are certainly important, even foundational to estate planning, we’d argue that they’re almost never sufficient for achieving your estate planning goals.
At the very least, most people need a will and a trust. That’s where estate planning can get complicated, but the good news is, you don’t have to pursue it alone. Reach out to a wills, trusts, and estates attorney for assistance getting each of these key documents in place.
Why Hire a Will and Trust Attorney?
There are a number of reasons why it makes sense to enlist the services of a will and trust attorney; here are just a few of them.
Having a trust can help you keep your estate out of probate.
A will is important because it allows you to articulate how you would like your assets to be distributed upon your death; to put it bluntly, your will answers the question of who gets what.
And yet, actually settling your estate is never quite so simple. Even with a will, your estate will likely go through the probate process, which means there will be a delay before your heirs receive the assets you left them. There may also be some legal hoops your heirs have to jump through, and potentially even some expenses. Naturally, you want to help them avoid this process if at all possible.
That’s where having a trust becomes critical. Trusts enable you to shield your assets from the probate process and make life much easier for the people you leave behind. A wills, trusts, and estates attorney can show you how.
What about living wills and healthcare directives?
It’s also important to remember that there is much more to estate planning than the “who gets what” question. For example, estate planning is also about preparing for the possibility that you could become medically incapacitated in some way, unable to make your own financial, business, or healthcare decisions.
There are some valuable estate planning documents that can help you get ready for this possibility, including living wills, powers of attorney, and even living trusts. But again, a will alone is insufficient. Work with a living wills lawyer to be sure your estate plan is robust and ready for all contingencies.
Don’t forget about tax planning.
As you consider the legacy you’ll leave for your family, it’s only natural to want that legacy to be as vast and as valuable as can be. Sometimes, taxes can take a big bite out of your estate, and leave your heirs with much less than what you’d hoped for. The right tax strategies can help you avert this fate and minimize the estate taxes you owe, but again, that’s something that will require some professional guidance.
A living wills lawyer, in addition to helping you get the right documents in place, can also help you generate an estate plan that helps you retain the value of your assets and keep tax burdens to a minimum.
Work with a Wills, Trusts, and Estates Attorney
Ultimately, there are a number of reasons why it can pay off for you to handle your estate planning with guidance from an experienced legal professional.
To speak with a will and trust attorney at Singh Law Firm, reach out to us today; we are always happy to set up an appointment for you to come talk with us about any and all of your estate planning questions.