Planning for your own death is never a fun prospect. But if you have assets, you’ll want them to be handled fairly when you’re gone. If you’re asking, do I need an estate attorney, the answer is probably yes. A trust and estate planning lawyer is an invaluable resource when it comes to making your plans. They’ll be able to give you estate planning ideas you might not have considered, opening up your options. A lawyer can also answer common estate planning questions. While you might be able to find these answers yourself, asking a lawyer directly ensures that you’ll get accurate answers, and it will take much less time.
If you need an estate lawyer, there are several ways to find one. You can talk to people you know and ask if anybody has a lawyer they’ve loved or hated. Another option is to look for an estate planning attorney online. Lawyers will often have websites for their services. You might also be able to find resources where people have reviewed their lawyers, showing you who to hire or avoid.
Nobody likes to think of “the end.” That’s depressing, and besides, you’re in excellent health! We totally understand if you are one of nearly a third of the American public who would rather go to the dentist or file their taxes than write a will, but this is not an advisable strategy. We certainly hope you remain healthy, but it’s a really good idea to have a plan for your future in the event something unexpected occurs. One great way to get this process started is to hire an estate planning attorney. An estate planning attorney can help you with a variety of logistical things related to The Great Unknown, including:
1. Understanding elder law.
Elder law is the umbrella term given to policies and legal procedures that affect the aging populace. This can include laws about long-term care standards, Medicaid and Medicare procedures, and how to appoint a power of attorney to handle your paperwork in case you are rendered incapable of doing so. An estate planning attorney can walk you through relevant elder law and come up with a plan for your twilight years.
2. Drafting that will.
And not at the dentist’s office! Amazingly, over half the aging population has yet to do this. Maybe it’s a distaste for the train of thought. Maybe they’re intimidated because wills, when they’re read in movies, are always long official-sounding documents with big words. However as any estate planning attorney will tell you, you can write a rough will draft in under half an hour. Even better, this singular service is often affordable. Most lawyers will help you with a “just-the-basics” will for around $100.
3. Setting up a living trust.
A trust is just what it sounds like, really. It is the legal entrusting of certain assets to a steward while you are still alive. When people throw around the words “trust fund,” they’re usually referring to a fund set up by someone else that they have access to under certain stipulations. If you want help setting up a living trust, such as for your kids or to pay your funeral costs, an estate planning attorney can work with you to develop a trust that’s right for you and your beneficiaries.
If anyone has good legal recommendations or advice, please don’t hesitate to comment below. It is never too early to start thinking about these things–and when it’s too late, you won’t be able to do anything about it.