There are a lot of theories about what happens to us after death. While none of these suggestions can necessarily be proven or controlled, we do have a very good idea of what happens to our belongings after we’ve passed on. Estate planning gives you the opportunity to control where your assets will be distributed after your death.
Depending on the state in which you live, there are certain legal requirements that need to be followed for your plan to be effective. An estate attorney will guide you through this process and make sure that you cover all your bases.
To help you get started, here are a few thoughts to consider in preparation.
What Is Estate Planning?
An estate is anything that contributes to an individual’s net worth. This is calculated by adding up your assets and deducting your debt. There’s a lot more to one’s estate than just real estate, such as household items, vehicles, and securities accounts and bank accounts.
Estate planning involves the organization of what happens to this estate once the owner passes away. Manifesting in several ways, estate planning includes living trusts, living wills, health care surrogates, revocable (and irrevocable) trusts, probate proceedings, and durable powers of attorney.
With so many options, it’s no wonder that an estate attorney can offer immense value and guidance.
When Do You Need an Attorney?
The role played by an estate attorney is diverse. Using their expert knowledge in the field, an estate attorney not only assists with a legal understanding of processes. Additionally, they initiate the steps that are needed.
Some of these tasks include:
- Creating a will. This process involves selecting the people who will receive your belongings after you pass away.
- Designating a beneficiary. This person or persons will receive the death benefit based on their name(s) in your life insurance policy.
- Setting up a durable power of attorney. This person is authorized to represent or act on your behalf in private affairs, business, health care and other legal matters.
- Looking for ways to reduce the amount of estate tax. While there is no Florida estate tax, you may still be subject to federal estate tax.
- Ways to avoid the probate process. This Judicial process gives recognition to a will, if one exists, and administers the deceased’s estate.
- Set up trusts – as a means of asset protection and to avoid probate.
How Can An Estate Attorney Benefit You?
Differing state laws can make estate planning a tricky landscape to navigate. For that reason, when you’re drafting a will, setting up a trust, or instating a medical or financial power of attorney, you’ll want to make sure that you cross all of your t’s and dot all of your i’s. You may think that you’re gifting your inheritance to family after your passing. However, estate planning can often lead to expensive and complicated mistakes. An experienced estate lawyer can help you save a lot of money by preparing and executing your estate planning documents.
In many instances, a family dynamic or financial situation can be complicated. For example, if you’re in a second marriage, own more than one business, have minor children, or have substantial assets in 401(k)s.
There are several benefits that are offered by an estate attorney. The following seven are worth a special mention.
- Updating necessary documents
- Ensuring that these documents comply with state and federal law
- Offering legal advice pertaining to asset titling and beneficiary designations
- Professionally and clearly drafted documents (and assisting with the execution of these instructions)
- Assistance in preventing litigation
- Speeding up the process of inheritance distribution
- Protecting your assets from your creditors
Estate Attorneys At Your Service In Coral Springs
Thinking about the life of our loved ones after our death can be overwhelming. However, it doesn’t need to be. At the Law Offices of Gary I. Handin, P.A., we pride ourselves on more than 50 years of estate planning guidance and services. Call us at 954-796-9600 to find out about our dedicated firm, and how we can be of assistance to you.