Estate planning is about preparing for the future. Through the estate planning process, you can outline your wishes for any healthcare decisions that you wish to be made on your behalf, should you become medically incapacitated. You can specify your wishes as to how your monetary assets are allocated upon your death. And you can ensure that your minor children are cared for, even if something happens to you and your spouse or co-parent. These are just a few examples of the issues addressed through the estate planning process.
An estate planning attorney is a legal professional whose job is to consult with you about your wishes, then help you create a legally-sound estate plan that will enable you to achieve those wishes. Naturally, the specifics of the estate planning lawyer’s job can vary from one client to the next, as individual wishes and needs can vary.
The Role of an Estate Planning Lawyer
A few basic examples of what an estate planning attorney can assist you with include:
- Creating a will
- Establishing a trust
- Naming your beneficiaries
- Appointing a trustee
- Establishing a financial or medical power of attorney
- Finding ways to avoid or reduce estate taxes
- Finding ways to avoid probate court
Now, let’s take a look at some of these functions in greater detail.
Planning for All Contingencies
It is easy to assume that estate planning is all about determining “who gets what.” Actually, one of the main reasons to seek an estate planning law firm is that they can help you clarify your wishes about end-of-life care. For example, an estate planning law firm can help you establish the following documents:
- Advance health care directive; allows you to state the kinds of life support services you do or do not wish to receive, should you become medically incapacitated.
- Medical power of attorney; allows you to appoint someone to be your legal representative, and to make medical decisions on your behalf.
- Financial power of attorney; allows you to appoint someone to make financial and business decisions for you, should you become incapacitated.
Minimizing Estate Tax Burdens
Another critical aspect of estate planning is reducing the amount of taxation to which your estate is subject. In doing so, you can ensure that your heirs and beneficiaries receive the maximum value of the assets you leave to them. An estate planning lawyer will help with tax planning measures that may include the use of different kinds of trusts.
One of the most common estate planning errors is having a will in place, but nothing else. A will almost always ends up in probate court, which can lead to legal hassles, headaches, and expenses for your heirs and beneficiaries. Additionally, in probate court, the contents of your estate are made public.
Through the use of trusts and other estate planning documents, your attorney can help you avoid the frustrations of probate court, and also safeguard your confidentiality. Indeed, one of the main functions of an estate planning firm is to help clients steer clear of probate.
Meet with an Estate Planning Lawyer in Fremont
As you consider your estate planning needs and wishes, we invite you to meet with an advanced estate planning attorney from Singh Law Firm. Our lawyers boast decades of experience navigating estate planning law in the state of California. We would love to meet with you, learn more about your needs and goals, and help you put the right estate plan in place to meet those goals.
To speak with an expert in estate law, connect with Singh Law Firm today.