How Can Estate Planning Lawyers Help You?
Estate Planning Lawyers can help you with several things. They can take inventory of your assets and determine how they should be titled to ensure everything is clear.
They can also assist you in choosing an executor to manage your estate. This person may be required to file tax papers and fulfill certain legal obligations.
Preparation of Power of Attorney Documents
Estate planning lawyers can help draft a power of attorney documents, allowing you to select an agent to step in and make financial, medical, and other significant decisions for you if you cannot do so. Your lawyer may be able to advise you about choosing the right type of power of attorney for your situation, including whether you should include a springing POA (which only takes effect when you become incapacitated).
Estate attorneys can also help you create healthcare directives and prepare durable powers of attorney. They can explain the legal requirements for executing these documents and ensure they comply with state law.
Preparation of Living Wills
A significant part of estate planning involves drafting living wills, which allow individuals to choose someone to make health care decisions on their behalf if they are permanently unconscious or terminally ill. These documents also typically address end-of-life issues, such as whether the individual wants to be kept on life support and their wishes for funeral services.
Choosing an estate attorney with good communication skills ensures they are well-informed about your situation. This includes inventorying your assets and determining how they should be titled. Additionally, they can assist with addressing state and federal taxes and making appropriate changes to your estate plan as necessary.
Preparation of Health Care Directives
Health care directives, also known as living wills and health care surrogates, are written instructions that describe your preferences for medical treatment if you become terminally ill, in a coma, or near the end of life. These documents can help your family and doctors understand your wishes if you can’t speak for yourself.
Dr. Sudore developed a straightforward advance directive that simplifies naming a medical decision-maker and specifying some critical healthcare choices. She says it leads to higher completion rates and helps older adults frame the discussion as ordinary and necessary.
Remember that you can change or cancel a directive at any time. Distribute new forms, destroy old copies, and inform your doctor and family of changes.
Preparation of Trusts
If you have family members with special needs, an estate planning lawyer can create a robust plan and a trust to protect your assets from the costly effects of long-term care. They can also create trusts that shield your assets from Medicaid recovery programs, which seek to recoup costs for services provided by nursing homes.
Estate planning attorneys have a firm understanding of state and federal laws regarding property and wills. They can anticipate future law changes and help you make the right decisions to meet your goals. They can also assist you in completing the necessary paperwork and explain any formalities required for specific legal documents.
Preparation of Wills
A good estate planning attorney will help you prepare what is known as a testamentary will. This document is arguably the best insurance against successful challenges to your wishes by family members or other parties after your death.
The attorney will also assist you in identifying and establishing beneficiaries for your assets. This includes any assets you may have designated as payable on death accounts, life insurance policies, and other transfers on death assets.
An estate lawyer can also guide health care directives and living wills. These documents ensure that your wishes are carried out if you become incapacitated.
Preparation of Living Trusts
If you have assets in beneficiary-designated accounts (such as a retirement account or life insurance policy), estate planning lawyers can help ensure those beneficiaries receive the maximum benefit possible. This may involve creating or revising a living trust.
A living trust allows you to control how those assets will be handled during your lifetime and after your death. This is one of the most common ways for people to manage their estates.
An experienced estate attorney will be able to provide you with the best options for your unique situation. They will also be able to explain the advantages of various types of trusts and how they work.