An estate plan is basically an instruction manual for individuals that guides other people on how to distribute their properties, personal effects, and assets after they have passed away or become incapacitated.
Many of the legal issues involved in estate planning are complicated and can be quite confusing. To simplify the estate planning process, it is crucial that the designated representative of the estate of a deceased person, like an executor or administrator, work closely and in collaboration with an estate planning attorney.
Responsibilities Of An Estate Lawyer
Below are some examples of types of cases that estate planning lawyers may be able to handle.
- Preparing and drafting someone’s will
- Establishing a living trust
- Finding and using strategies to help lower estate taxes
- Legally avoiding probate proceedings like using gifts or trusts
- Drafting of power of attorney documents
- Update estate plans when needed (e.g., to conform with new estate plan laws or to change the terms of a testament).
When a person wants to make a will or determine what to do in the case of their death or incapacitation, they can retain an estate planning attorney. The attorney will meet the client to assess their plans, including who they want their assets and property to go to, what legal instruments they need to accomplish their goals, as well as how to minimize future legal disputes and avoid any potential risks.
Estate planning attorneys are also able to provide valuable insights into a person’s plans as they are skilled at designing these documents to the last detail. They can even help with issues you might not have not have considered like:
- Deciding to donate your organs after death
- Choosing your minor child/ children’s guardian
- Plans for your digital properties (social media account, etc.)
- Choosing who will be responsible for your business interests, if any
- How do you want to be treated for specific conditions or procedures?
Benefits Of Creating An Estate Plan
Drafting an estate plan can provide you with a multitude of benefits. These include:
- Assist in distributing property and/or assets to the right people
- Reduce taxes and other costs the estate might have to pay
- Avoid the risk of having family members go through the probate procedure.
- Reduce the likelihood of future legal disputes between the estate and family members
- Ensure that your business continues to be successful even after your passing
- Giving guidance to loved ones about property matters, medical treatments, and funeral arrangements
The most important benefit of an estate plan is protecting the future of your loved ones. This plan outlines an individual’s last wishes. It also prevents their properties from going to the wrong individuals or being taken by state via intestate legislation.
What Does It Cost To Draft An Estate Plan?
A variety of factors will influence the cost of an estate plan. There are two main factors that will affect the cost of creating an estate plan. The first one is the type of plan required. This includes what legal documents you need. The second factor is the manner in which the attorney bills, whether they ask fees on an hourly basis or a flat fee that you agreed upon.
Other factors could include the level of experience, state where the plan is being made, complexity and value of assets, or the estate. Additional filing costs might also apply.
A lawyer can be a great option to help you ensure that your living trust documents are legally valid, executable, and include all necessary assets. They can help their loved ones avoid having to go to court over any future disputes.
It is important to note that the cost of an attorney’s services will vary depending upon the fee arrangement, geographic location, experience, and other related factors. A lawyer can cost from $200 to $2,000 depending on the circumstances. This can also change depending on whether or not the cost includes the filing fees, which are provided by the local court.
Estate planning costs are usually unique to each individual and their particular situation. It is best to plan ahead and prepare a list of things you wish to discuss to save both time and money.
Finding Legal Help
There are many options for finding an estate lawyer. Recommendations from family and friends is a great way to find one. If this option is not available to you, a simple internet search can do the trick.
You can also visit the website of your local bar association to locate an estate planning attorney. These websites could provide contact information for an attorney, or may suggest a program that can help you find an attorney depending on the state where you live.