Estate planning is serious business. A single missing signature, a poorly worded phrase, or a missing digit on your financial statement can change the entire intent of a trust or will. Creating an estate plan is important, and you have to work with a good attorney in order to get everything right.
When it comes to estate planning strategies, having a good trust or will is critical. You have to work with the best attorney in order to get the legal protection you need. But can you do this without an attorney? How can an attorney specialized in elder law estate planning in Dania Beach help you? Do you really need an attorney?
Here are the main reasons to hire an estate planning attorney:
Reason #1 – You can avoid the costly and lengthy probate process
The probate process is a nightmare... everyone who goes through the process will confirm this. Probate is the court process that manages the transfer of a deceased person's estate to the beneficiaries and heirs. Going through the process is very time consuming and can get expensive. In some cases, where there are a lot of assets and many beneficiaries, the entire process can take up to two years. What's more, the process is entirely public – everyone can find out the details of the transfer, the assets, and who gets what.
You can avoid the probate process by designating your assets to the beneficiaries during your lifetime. A good way to do this is by creating a Small Estate Affidavit. This document can be used if your assets have a value of $150,000 or less. Another way to avoid the probate process is to have a will or a trust. These documents should be part of your larger estate plan and are critical for any person who wants to avoid the probate process. Talk to your attorney specialized in elder law estate planning in Dania Beach to help you out.
Reason #2 – Your attorney will guide you through the process
Your attorney will help you pick the right strategy for you. Keep in mind that there are many estate planning strategies to choose from, and you'll need professional help in order to pick the right option for you. Every case is different, every asset is different, and you'll need an experienced professional to guide you. A good estate plan must include a variety of documents – they all help you and your loved ones avoid the difficult probate process. Here are some of the most important documents:
- a will or a pour-over will
- a power of attorney
- a trust
- a general assignment
- a medical directive
- a guardianship nomination
All these documents must be carefully drafted in order to be effective. You have to work with a good attorney in order to make them bulletproof. You'll have to make sure that:
- your assets will go to the people you care about the most; you'll also have to include the rules you want to follow during the process; for instance, you will want to impose rules on how children inherit property and when;
- your children are protected if you pass away, via a guardianship nomination; this document is a powerful source of evidence in court, reflecting your wishes as to who takes care of your children;
Reason #3 – A good attorney will help you save money and time
A good attorney will help you organize all the documents you need. He or she will help you choose the best strategy (and there are a lot of estate planning strategies to choose from). You'll get help when searching for titles, insurance policies, financial records, and beneficiary designations. Also, the attorney will also help you fix or resolve any errors or mistakes that can occur during the estate planning process.
Your attorney will also help you avoid common mistakes. For instance, here are the various common mistakes that you should avoid:
- not creating an estate plan
- creating an inadequate estate plan
- not completing the process
- leaving assets and people out
- failing to update the estate plan when important life changes occur
A good attorney will also help you financially. Yes, you will have to pay for the legal fees, but you will pay less in taxes, court costs, or other professional fees. What's more, a good estate plan helps you save a lot of money in the long run, especially by avoiding the complicated probate process.
Reason #4 – The estate plan will cover everything
Poorly drafted estate plans often leave important elements out. For instance, a good estate plan should include provisions for family members with special needs. Every special circumstance should be covered in the estate plan. There are special types of trusts that can cover virtually every situation, and your attorney can help you pick the right solution for your needs. Although setting up a special needs trust is complicated and requires specific legal knowledge, it is required in many cases. If you draft a good special needs trust, you will get adequate protection for the people you love when you pass away. This is very important for them, particularly because the public benefits are never enough.
Reason #5 – You will reduce tax liabilities
A good attorney will help you reduce tax liabilities for your assets. Here are the main factors that can reduce your tax liabilities:
- the value of your gross estate
- the total expenses incurred while settling your estate
- the amount of debt you owe when you pass away
- any deductions that are eligible for you
Your attorney will also help you determine your net estate. For instance, if your gross estate is worth $2 million and your debt is $300,000, your net estate is valued at $1,7 million. In this case, you won't owe any taxes, as the amount is under the available tax exemption. There are other tax laws depending on the state you reside in. Make sure to contact an attorney specialized in elder law estate planning in Dania Beach to get more information on this topic.
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