According to a recent study, more than 50% of Americans think estate planning is somewhat important, but only 33% have a will or living trust.
And while nobody likes planning for when they’re no longer able to take care of things, estate planning isn’t something you should ignore when there are loved ones you might leave behind.
This is where a trust attorney comes in – they help ensure the best possible outcomes for legal estate planning.
Who is a Trust Attorney?
A trust attorney serves as a personal guide throughout the estate planning process. They walk you through federal and state laws regarding estate planning, assess your goals, and find the perfect balance between the two.
From there, they’ll help you set up a legally binding trust that meets your needs. The attorney will also help manage the trust as time goes by to ensure it is effective.
There are plenty of reasons why you should hire a trust attorney, but it all boils down to peace of mind for you and your loved ones. Below are seven signs you should hire a trust attorney.
1. You Need to Update Documents
Legal estate planning documents aren’t prepared once and stored away for good. Regular amendments are essential to match the documents with changing financial conditions and unfolding life events.
However, updating these documents isn’t about simply making edits. There are legal matters involved that require extensive knowledge of law to handle. An experienced trust attorney from Rhodes Law Firm can help you seamlessly align your estate plans with your current needs. This will help protect your loved ones while preventing family conflicts.
Moreover, an attorney is committed to adhering to all the legal procedures. Doing so prevents any errors that might adversely affect the distribution of assets once you’re gone.
2. You Need the Best Plan for Protecting Yourself, Your Family, and Your Assets
A good estate plan consists of several documents to ensure that your family doesn’t jump through hoops if and when you pass away. These may include a will, trust, medical directive, guardianship nomination, power of attorney, and general assignment.
All of these documents require the use of precise verbiage to ensure that your assets will end up in the hands of the people you care about most. For example, they can help set up a trust for underage children to receive assets when they reach a certain age.
Mistakes like a missing signature or using the wrong words can be the reason your loved ones aren’t protected. A trust attorney ensures that you cover all of your bases.
3. You Need Help Appointing a Trustee
It’s essential to select a trustee when creating a trust. A trustee will be responsible for managing and monitoring assets in the trust. They also handle filing taxes for the trust.
You need an excellent trustee – accountable, organized, responsible, and trustworthy. Finding someone who fits these criteria can be daunting, especially if it’s your first time.
A reputable estate planning lawyer makes finding a trustee an easier task. They help you understand the responsibilities of a trustee, recommend good options, and help you choose someone who fits your needs.
4. You Need Help Navigating Complications
The estate may be simple for someone with no debt, streamlined finances, and limited assets. However, the following factors may complicate matters:
- Multiple marriages
- Multiple children
- Minor children
- Problem children
- No children
- Real estate in different cities or states
- Disabled loved ones
- Substantial assets
If any of the above complications apply to you, having a trust attorney by your side can make navigating them easier. And even if your estate isn’t complicated, your trust lawyer may have a different opinion.
5. You Need Help Determining or Reducing Tax Liabilities
When determining whether your estate is liable for state or federal taxes, several factors come into play. These include:
- Gross estate value
- The amount owed at the time of death
- Total expenses incurred while settling the estate
- Deductions the estate is liable to take
That said, if you wish to avoid or reduce probate and estate taxes, setting up a trust is the right move. It will provide directives on what happens to your assets and specifies the beneficiaries. A trust attorney can help you achieve this goal while adhering to complex tax laws.
6. You Want to Avoid the Probate Process
The probate process can take up to a year and cost a lot of money. It’s also public, and as such, people can contest it and any legal documents involved.
A trust lawyer can help you set up a trust and avoid probate. The trustee you appoint to manage the living trust will be in charge of distributing the assets.
The living trust is a private document that isn’t a part of the public record. As a result, it will protect your privacy. The document will also allow for faster distribution of assets, which will save on time and costs. A trust attorney will be invaluable in establishing a valid and enforceable trust that avoids probate.
7. You Need an Estate Plan That Will Take Care of a Special Needs Family Member(s)
If you have a child or a loved one with special needs, it makes sense that you’d want to have an estate plan that protects them. This is particularly important because they can lose certain public benefits if they inherit assets outright. Certain types of trusts allow people with special needs to receive their inheritance and still receive government benefits.
However, this area of estate planning is complicated and requires the help of someone with very specific knowledge. An estate planning attorney who is well-versed with special needs trusts can ensure that they get an inheritance that supplements their public benefits.
Need a Trust Lawyer?
No one likes planning for their death or incapacitation. However, every decision you make should be good for you and your loved ones. Your trust attorney will set up your trust and provide valuable legal guidance to you and whoever you name as trustee.
If you are ready to create a solid estate plan, contact us today to meet with a specialized trust attorney at Rhodes Law Firm.