Looking for a reliable lawyer to help you with estate planning may not be too easy nowadays. Thankfully, you can always tap different resources to be able to avail of professional legal assistance. Here are some ideas you can try in case you are having a hard time with the task of contacting an attorney.
To begin with, one of the most effective ways to find a good lawyer is to ask friends, colleagues or relatives about it. Talk with those you know and ask them to describe their entire experience. You will be able to find out the pros and cons of certain options by doing this. Most people are definitely willing not only to recommend specific lawyers but to give you any warning about some attorneys.
If you have a financial advisor, then that means you have another useful source of relevant information. Advisors usually have the contact details of good lawyers in your area and so you might want to refer to their list. While on the subject of financial advisors, you also have to know that speaking with them about your estate planning is a good idea. Such a plan is often considered as a crucial part of an individual’s financial stability.
Another idea is to ask accountants for recommendations. Besides, it is a fact that many estate planning attorneys rely on accountants when it comes to trust and income tax matters. This only means that an accountant probably knows more than a few lawyers in your area. Also, feel free to contact other lawyers you have worked with in the past for their suggestions. For example, you may have worked with a legal professional while buying a home or acquiring a property. Chances are high that they personally know someone who specializes in the field and you can take advantage of that.
You may also try doing searches on your own by utilizing the internet. You can check out official websites of different law firms and see if they offer estate planning services. What’s great about accessing such sites is that you will also get the chance to view the profiles of the lawyers along with information regarding their rates. This provides you with a good overview of what to expect when you finally begin working with a lawyer. One of the biggest questions many families face is whether or not their loved one should hire an estate planning lawyer or not. Not only are there are a large number of lawyers qualified for this task, but there are likely many friends and family members in your address book who could refer you to one if the question of who to hire comes up. When it comes to ensuring your loved one’s affairs are in order, an estate-planning lawyer is an asset.
Don’t be frustrated if your loved one doesn’t want to hire an estate planning lawyer. This isn’t an uncommon reaction because, often times, individuals believe the end of their days are near and that they’re going to lose control of their property, and they are not going to be able to make their own financial decisions any longer. Reassure them that this is not the case, and they will still have full control over all decisions regarding their estate until there is medical need calling for alternate decision making through a power of attorney. Make sure they are also part of the decision making process because it is, after all, their estate in question. Before making your final decision as to who to hire as your estate-planning lawyer, hold many interviews with lawyers in order to ensure there’s a good rapport and the credentials you want to see are in place. Remember, you are going to be working with this lawyer for a long period of time, as well as their associates, so you must be able to establish a good working relationship with them. If you feel like you can’t get along with them during the interview, contact additional lawyers until you feel confident you’ve made a good long-term decision.
When you are ready to start your estate planning papers you will need to be thorough and precise as one misconstrued word or a missing initial can change the entire meaning of your estate documents. Your local and state laws are very technical as to who you can have represent your interests in your estate planning documents as well as your power of attorney. There are even stipulations on who can witness your signature.
The laws vary from state to state and one wrong word can make your estate papers null and void. This is why you should entrust the help of viable estate planning lawyers to oversee your legal rights. If you think that you can go online and get a living will or other estates documents and they will be valid and legally binding then you are in for a huge disappointment. Most of the do it yourself documents are a “one size fits all” and you very well know your life is your own and “one size fits all” is not conducive to your situation. It will be your family that will be left behind with no way to enforce your last wishes.
Your will need to let your estate planning lawyers know what you want to happen with your estate when you are no longer alive. You should let someone know where you will put your copies of your power of attorney, insurance papers, living will and any codes or keys to your bank safe deposit box. You should also have extra copies of all of your important documents in a fire proof box as well as all of the original documents on file at your estates lawyer’s office.
Please look at the information below to see which items pertain to your unique situation.
If any of these statements pertain to your personal situation then you will need estate planning lawyers to make sure that your assets and last wishes are carried out exactly as you want them to be. If you do not use a professional you may end up making your family go through probate and it may take away resources from your family.
The Power of Attorney is a legal document which authorizes another person to manage your financial affairs. There are two types of powers of attorney. The first is a general durable power of attorney which gives power to another person known as an “attorney-in-fact” immediately. The second is a springing power of attorney which gives power to another person known as an “attorney-in-fact” only at the time which you have suffered a physical or mental incapacity. By having a power attorney drafted by an estate planning lawyer you can avoid the frustration, delay, and costly conservatorship process should you become incapacitated. The conservatorship process ultimately requires a judge to appoint a conservator who may in fact be a complete stranger to the family.
The Health Care Proxy allows an adult to appoint another adult to make medical decisions should they not be able to in the future. This power includes the ability to decide if life sustaining measures should be taken. By having a health care proxy drafted by an estate planning lawyer you can avoid the frustration, delay, and costly guardianship process should you become incapacitated.
The living will needs express his or her desires regarding the use of extraordinary measures to extend his or her life when there is no reasonable expectation that he or she will regain consciousness.
The Last Will and Testament is a tool that allows one to bequeath assets to specific individuals and/or entities, name guardians for your minor children and potentially prevents your property and children from being distributed under the state’s default intestacy statutes. Unfortunately, many Utah residents are unaware that the Last Will and Testament can neither prevent the expense, delay, and publicity of a probate preceding nor can the Will override a beneficiary designation on a life insurance policy, retirement plan, or a joint form of ownership. Therefore, the estate planner should be aware of all retirement plan beneficiaries, insurance policy beneficiaries, joint accounts and review whether a living trust should be drafted in addition to the Last Will and Testament.
Failure to complete basic estate planning documents can cause a whole host of problems for those you leave behind. Dying intestate (without a will) means that your assets will be divided according to state law rather than your own personal wishes. It also means that the state government will get involved and charge a fee for services rendered. In other words, less of your estate will go to your heirs. If you want to avoid this unpalatable scenario, you must have several important documents in place before you pass away.
This document serves two important roles: First, it names an executor, who is responsible for the disposition of your assets; second, it clearly delineates who gets what and when. Because they specialize in drafting these documents, estate planning lawyers can create a legally valid will that clearly expresses your wishes. When these wishes are recorded in writing by a legal expert, the risk of confusion, family infighting, or future legal disputes is quite low.
Life insurance, retirement, and other financial accounts are designed to pass money to others when their owners expire. But if the owner does not fill out a beneficiary form, it might be difficult to determine who is entitled to the money, because a will does not have legal force when it comes to beneficiary designation. If you have already filled out these forms, it is advisable to update or revise them from time to time. This is particularly important should your marital status change, because even if you are no longer married, it is possible to leave a sizable sum to an ex-spouse if you fail to change your list of beneficiaries.
It is a sad and unfortunate fact of life that most us will spend our final days in an incapacitated state due to illness or injury. But, before we pass away, there are many important legal and financial decisions that must be made. Signing a power of attorney gives a trusted friend or relative the right to make financial and legal decisions on your behalf. Although it is not a decision that should be taken lightly, it is one that must be made to ensure that things are handled as quickly and smoothly as possible.
As we mentioned, most of us will not be in a position to make responsible decisions when the end is nigh. It is for this reason that estate planning lawyers recommend adding advanced medical directives to your will. These instructions should address all end-of-life decisions, such as whether you want to be kept alive on a ventilator, so that no one is forced to assume the burden of guessing what you would have wanted. Just as with the other documents on our list, make sure you review and update your medical directives from time to time, especially when you’ve made major changes in your life.
Because life can be quite unpredictable, the earlier you begin planning, the more likely it is that the outcome will be favorable in the majority of cases. It is the most important thing you can do for yourself and your family to start putting a plan in place as soon as possible. However, even though it is reassuring to believe they will, unfortunately, numerous disagreements over money are commonplace in today’s world.
Consequently, it is preferable to put your wishes down on paper and in writing rather than verbally. This means that the nominee may not be the legal owner of the assets in question. The assets will be distributed according to the country’s succession laws if there is no will. If there is no will, the assets will be distributed in accordance with the country’s succession laws. In the vast majority of cases, obtaining legal representation is not a problem at all. Much in the same way that a doctor can guide you through their field of expertise, an attorney can guide you through the estate planning process to ensure that everything is done legally and properly, taking into account all of the minute details involved.
Often, flat-fee wills and durable power of attorney (DPA) documents are drafted; however, hourly legal document maintenance work (often involving wills) is also available, as is being asked to act on behalf of a deceased individual and assist with the distribution of assets following the individual’s passing.
In the case of an individual who has power of attorney over the estate of a recently deceased individual, the completion of a probate court proceeding, also known as “probate,” will be required. Unquestionably true, but the extent to which this is true depends on the type of assets in the deceased’s estate and whether or not their ownership rights are defined in accordance with applicable state law in each individual instance. You should consult with an estate planning attorney if you have reason to believe that someone is planning to contest the will of a deceased family member or loved one or to sue the estate of a deceased family member or loved one. When a trust is involved, this type of litigation can quickly deplete the trust’s assets, putting all of the beneficiaries in a precarious financial position.
If the estate is complex, the person is in good health, and a variety of other factors are taken into consideration, nearly everyone will require the services of an estate-planning attorney. When a family member cannot manage their financial affairs on their own, many people choose to hire an attorney to assist with the situation. Trusts are a type of estate planning tool used to manage property before a person’s death for some families. Wills, trusts, powers of attorney and other legal documents are all examples of estate planning.
In legal/fiduciary terms, a trust is a contractual arrangement in which one party has legal title and controls the property on behalf of another party. An option may be to work with a fiduciary who has legal title while serving as a trustee and administering the property on behalf of the other party. Upon the individual’s death for whom the trust was formed, assets are dispersed under different conditions than those provided in a will.