This Article Written for Willhoite Law, PLLC
Accepting death as in inevitability is not easy, especially in a culture where people seldom talk about death. Families tend not to talk about death and dying until they absolutely must. But in reality, it’s much easier to face death when we are prepared than to avoid it so it’s very vital to plan your estate. Estate planning is an activity that most people do not consider until later in life. However, planning your estate early in life is important. In planning your estate, there are a number of tools that can help in passing down assets or income to your heirs.
Estate planning involves those tasks that serve to manage your asset base if you become incapacitated or pass away. Numerous tasks are included in the process of estate planning including writing a will, setting up trusts, establishing an executor for your estate, setting up plans for funeral arrangements, setting up a durable power of attorney and more. One of the most useful is a trust. Trust is basically a document that involves the transfer of ownership of property and or assets from a person who is the original owner of assets and property to the trustee, the one who manages the assets for the heirs.
The need of estate planning is essential to ensure the proper preservation, management and distribution of your assets after your death. It also ensures the proper management of your financial affairs should you become incapacitated. The most fundamental step in estate planning is creating a trust. Without a legally written trust, there are no guarantees your wishes will be carried out after your death.
All your assets, including moveable and immoveable property, stocks, insurance policies, pensions, stocks, and debt, are included in the process of comprehensive estate planning. Once a will is in place, other tasks, such as setting up family trusts, are carried out to work alongside your will to ensure that your wishes are carried out to the letter on your death.
A trust can be created on your death or set up during your lifetime. A living trust is set up while you are still alive, allowing you to put assets in the trust and take them out should the need arise while ensuring your estate is protected for the beneficiaries named in the trust deed. A living trust, such as a family trust, also ensures your affairs are properly managed if you become incapacitated.
When it comes to preparing a strong estate planning strategy, you need to hire an attorney who is well versed in this area of the legal profession. Planning an estate is not something that any licensed attorney is capable of doing. There are several different types of estate planning procedures such as living trusts, foundations, and wills. Many are complicated in nature and call for the expertise of estate attorneys who understand the ins and outs of every strategy.
Every state has its own laws as well as wealth distribution laws. The trust attorney you hire to deal with your estate planning documents must be someone who is very knowledgeable about these laws and knows how to apply them to your unique set of circumstances. Doing this can help your family members to reduce the amount of estate and wealth taxes they must pay once you have passed away.
When searching for an adequate trust attorney, look for one who has at least 10 years’ experience. You also want to select one who is licensed to practice law in the state that you live in. Before you begin to work with the attorney you may wish to ask for references that you can check into. It is always wise to be safe as opposed to sorry.
A great way to find a trust attorney who deals with estate planning is to ask loved ones or friends who have already had an estate plan drafted. See which law firm they went through and find out who they would recommend. One of your great sources is someone who already has experience with these matters. You also might need to verify with professional associations and organizations in your area that offer continuing education opportunities for estate attorneys. Qualified and experienced trust attorney is often member of such associations.
As you peruse the options in attorneys, it helps to be aware that estate and tax laws do not remain fixed, but instead, they change very often. That is why hiring a legal professional who practices this type of law and is up-to-date on all of the latest developments is so important for you. If your trust plan is drawn up by an attorney who has not practiced this kind of law in quite a while then your plan might not include any recent modifications that have occurred to laws. This could put your family in a bad situation that you could avoid.
There are lots of attorneys to choose from, but it is the absolute best of the bunch that you want working for you. Find someone whose main practice or one of his or her areas of expertise is trust planning. This is your assurance that the individual knows everything there is to know and will not leave anything out or forget to bring certain things to your attention as you work through the process together step-by-step. Meet with the trust attorney face to face before you hire him/her. Do not hire a legal professional sight unseen. Organize a meeting and then make your decision from there.
The attorney is held to a strict standard of confidentiality once the attorney-client relationship begins. This means that the attorney cannot disclose any confidential information that you choose to share with them. Deep dark family secrets and concerns that may be inappropriate to discuss with family members or the general public are held between the trust attorney and the client and this information remains confidential even after you die. With this standard in place, there is no reason to be concerned about sharing and bearing all with your attorney. They have heard it all and should not be too shocked. It is best to be straight forward and honest with the estate attorney at Willhoite Law, PLLC to make sure that there are no problems down the road.