With almost constant changes to the tax code, anyone who wants to pass their estate on to their descendants pays attention to estate planning news. The partners at AARLaw likewise keep up with such news along with changes to the law because we help many clients with their estate planning. Our goal is to use the law to protect what you’ve earned after you’ve gone.
What is the Purpose of Estate Planning?
Estate planning is a gentle way of describing how a person will have their property divided after their death. Through legal devices in place, careful estate planning can ensure that the estate will survive taxation and the ravages of hungry creditors. Careful estate planning ensures that descendants receive what you want them to receive.
Is Estate Planning Necessary?
Estate planning is not necessary for everyone, rather, only persons with real property they would want to pass on to spouses, children, and grandchildren. Persons with no real property, no stocks, bonds, or similar financial vehicles, or anything of value have no need of estate planning. However, someone with no need who starts estate planning may well build an estate.
What Documents are Needed for Estate Planning?
When planning your estate, checklist items such as
- stock certificates,
- deeds, or
- any other documents of ownership along with values will be needed.
- In addition, a list of all debts,
- creditors, and
- expenses should be provided to your attorney.
- Also needed are any durable powers of attorney
- Beneficiary designations
- Letters of intent
- Healthcare Power of attorney
- Guardianship designations
- Living Trusts
- Etc, etc, etc…meaning…
…the more open you are about what you have and what you expect to have when the estate plan goes into effect the better the estate planning.
Which is Better, a Will or a Trust?
Both. A will is the document which dictates who gets what after you die. A trust is similar in that it dictates who is getting what, but a trust can be implemented long before your death and can be set in place irrevocably. A will can be changed with a new will, provided the latter is properly executed. An irrevocable trust cannot be changed.
In reality, both the Will and the Trust are tools which may be used in estate planning. As with any tool, the key to success is knowing which tool to use when.
When Should One Get Started on Estate Planning?
Because life is uncertain, the simple answer is that the best time to get started on estate planning is now. There is no time like the present and all that.
Realistically, the time to get started planning your estate is when it reaches the point where the law may potentially reduce it to ruins should you pass away. When you reach the point where you fear what will happen to everything you have built after you are gone, it is time to start estate planning.
How much does it Cost to do Estate Planning?
The cost of estate planning depends on many factors including how complex the estate and holdings, family circumstances, and more. During your initial consultation, we will be happy to discuss fees.
Do I Need an Estate Planning Attorney?
No. There are out-of-the-box estate planning guides for sale on the Internet. Are they any good?
We do not know. We do not use them. We are lawyers and as such, we conduct our own due diligence when handling sensitive legal matters such as estate planning. We have no idea how any company can promise security when applying a cookie-cutter approach to estate planning. We simply know that our clients are protected.
A simple rule of thumb when wondering if an estate planning attorney is needed is the following questions…
- What is Considered Assets in an Estate?
- Will I Need to File an Estate Tax Return?
- Can an Executor Cash an Estate Check?
- Is Everything in order for probate?
Unless you know the all answers, you need an estate planning attorney.
AARLaw Estate Planning Services Protect
AARLaw estate planning legal services do what they are supposed to do: Protect what is yours. After working hard all your life, everything you worked for is in danger of being lost, of being sold by the state to cover this cost or that expense. Don’t leave your estate to chance.