Header widget area left
Header widget area right

A Guide to the Importance of Estate Planning

Mass Media

58% of people haven’t started to create a will. Or have even thought about the importance of estate planning to protect themselves and their loved ones upon their passing. We take time to plan out every other thing in our lives.

Everything except estate planning, which is why you’re here. If you’re still unsure of the importance of estate planning, you’ve come to the right place.

Below you’ll find some valuable estate planning tips to help you get your affairs in order ahead of time.

Here are the reasons why future planning matters!

Protects People Listed As Beneficiaries

There are several types of accounts you sign up for while you’re living. One of the standard practices organizations have people commit to is declaring a beneficiary in case of their death.

Someone that’s a beneficiary will be the person that the assets get passed on to when you pass per your signed declaration.

One of the first critical reasons that having an estate plan is crucial is to protect those that you’ve listed as your beneficiaries. This will ensure that everyone you want to pass things like monetary assets or homes you leave behind are given on to the right people.

One thing that can bring out the worst in people is having a family member pass and then having to decide who gets what. We aren’t saying that an estate plan won’t cause ill feelings between those who are beneficiaries and those who aren’t.

However, it will outline and clarify who gets what.

If you don’t have a plan that lists your beneficiaries, the court system will likely be the one that decides what happens to all of your assets. Which, again, can cause friction between your loved ones.

This is because the courts have no knowledge of your wants because it’s not in writing for them to review and enforce.

Offers Protection From IRS Bills

While many people don’t mind inheriting from their family members, one thing that crosses their mind is the amount they will have to pay in taxes if they choose to take on these inherited assets.

When you list people as your beneficiary, one goal you have is to reduce the tax bill they will have as much as you possibly can.

For example, if you use an IDT or irrevocable trust, you can transfer the assets you have to your beneficiary and they can’t be taxed. However, the person that is listed as the “grantor” of these assets will have to file and complete a 1040 form and return it to the IRS.

As long as the assets being transferred are provided at the correct value, there will be nothing to report. This means the trust will essentially pay any taxes it incurs itself without additional payment from the beneficiary.

Estate Planning Takes Steps Beyond a Typical Will

It’s not uncommon for people to assume that a will is the same thing as estate planning. The common theme amongst the two documents is that they both specify how you wish your assets to be handled when you’ve died.

However, estate planning outlines much more than you typically find in your will. For example, the estate planning guide will detail any medical directives you’ve specified.

This is in case you cannot make decisions on your own.

Of course, the medical beneficiary would only happen if you’re incapacitated or have other medical complications. Another detailed piece of information that can be found in an estate planning document is trust.

This aids in the facilitation of property being passed along.

As mentioned previously, this benefits you and the person inheriting the property for various tax purposes.

Takes Care of Your Children

When you consider estate planning or a will, the last thing you think about including information on is your children. It’s essential that you take time to outline who will take care of your living dependents in the event you pass and they are still minors.

Again, like the assets you’ll be passing along, you don’t want to leave the decision in custody for your children up to the legal system. The last thing that will need to happen is your children ending up in the middle of a battle between family members over who they will end up living with.

When you don’t have an estate plan, the court will appoint someone as their legal guardian, but this won’t stop other family members or close friends from petitioning to become their guardians. If there are no other family members alive to take custody of your children and no friends willing to, your children will become wards of the state.

This means they will be turned over to the foster care system until they age out of the system and can begin living their adult lives on their own. Also, it’s best to designate a secondary guardian in the event that the first one isn’t able to take your children or something happens to them, making them an unsuitable guardian.

Estate Planning: Start Today!

When it comes to estate planning, it’s crucial that you stop waiting and take the time to reach out to an estate planning attorney. They’ve got the experience needed to explain the process and guide you through it from beginning to end.

Contact Rhodes Law Firm and let us help you get your assets in order. There’s nothing better than continuing to enjoy your life knowing that you’ve done what it takes to protect your loved ones long after you’re gone.

Around the Web: Communicate your Estate Plan

Mass Media

For an estate plan to be successful, communication is key. Ultimately, failure to communicate and build trust within your family is a huge risk factor to the success of your wealth transfer. According to this J.P. Morgan article, many estate planning attorneys list “communicating the plan” as the final step in the process. 

The article describes several common scenarios to consider when communicating your plan. 


No one knows where your documents are or what is already arranged. When a loved one passes away, families often have to make quick financial decisions on their behalf, such as paying bills. It’s important to let someone know where you keep your paperwork, as well as passwords and account details. It can be so beneficial to equip your emergency contact ahead of time so that they don’t add on any more stress while grieving. 


Your expectations are not shared with beneficiaries. This can be especially important if you plan to distribute shares unequally. This can be due to a child needing more specialized care or assistance or various other reasons. Disclosing this information ahead of time can mitigate any confusion or misunderstandings between beneficiaries. 


You put one beneficiary in charge of everything. This can cause conflict in a few different ways. The named beneficiary could feel overwhelmed with the sole responsibility or those left out of the decision making process could feel hurt. It’s wise to name back-up people and make sure everyone is aware of the plan to help ease any conflicts. 


Ultimately, be open about your wishes and ensure that your beneficiaries are prepared to take control. There is no time like today to start estate planning. Give Rhodes Law Firm a call to get started!

What Are the Benefits of a Durable Power of Attorney?

Mass Media

Did you know there are several types of power of attorney? Well, if that’s news to you, it may be surprising to learn that one of the most common types of POA is a durable power of attorney. But what does that mean exactly?

A durable power of attorney is a legal document that gives another person the authority to act on your behalf in the event that you are no longer able to do so. This could be due to incapacity or illness. The person who is granted this authority is known as your “attorney-in-fact” or “agent.”

Having a durable power of attorney is an important part of your estate planning. You may choose to appoint a close family member, such as a spouse or child, as your attorney-in-fact, but this is not always the best decision.

In some cases, it may be better to appoint a professional, such as an attorney or financial advisor. This is especially true if the individual you are appointing will have significant responsibilities, such as managing your finances or making healthcare decisions on your behalf.

While the idea of giving someone else power over your life may seem daunting, there are many benefits to having a durable power of attorney in place. Read on to learn more.

Durable Power of Attorney Benefits

There are many benefits to appointing a durable power of attorney. For starters, a durable POA can provide peace of mind. They can help avoid family conflict and expense delays in probate court. A durable power of attorney also gives you access to someone who will make the decisions you would make.

Peace of Mind

One of the main benefits of a durable power of attorney is the peace of mind it gives. You can rest assured that your affairs will be handled per your wishes if you cannot do so.

If you cannot communicate your wishes, or if you want someone else to make medical decisions on your behalf, a DPOA can help ensure that happens. You can also include instructions in your DPOA about what kind of treatment you want in case you become incapacitated and cannot communicate your desires.

The person you designate as your agent can manage your finances too. If you don’t have another trusted person in place who can assist with this important task, a DPOA makes it possible for someone else to handle financial matters on your behalf, including paying bills, filing taxes and more.

You may not need these powers at once but still want them available when needed. Unlike regular powers of attorney, which must be filed with the court and recorded with the Secretary of State’s office before they have any effect, durable powers do not need to be filed. This makes a Durable POA a great option if you want flexibility and peace of mind.

It helps Avoid Family Conflicts

Another benefit of having a durable POA is avoiding potential conflict among family members or friends who may disagree about handling your affairs.

Your loved ones need to know who can make decisions for you. This type of power of attorney gives them the authority to make those decisions without going through probate court.

In addition, if there’s any doubt about what you want to be done, this type of power of attorney can prevent family members from fighting over your wishes and making things worse than they already are by prolonging the process until a judge decides for them.

Avoid Delays in Probate Court

When considering a durable power of attorney, you want to think about probate court. They can help avoid the expense and delay of probate court proceedings in the event that you become incapacitated.

Although most people say that money isn’t important when it comes to their loved one’s well-being, it can be difficult for them when they have no idea how much money is available or how much money needs to be spent each month on bills and other expenses.

Someone You Can Trust

One last benefit of a durable power of attorney is ensuring that someone you trust will make decisions on your behalf. The alternative is having a court-appointed conservator, which you may not want.

When choosing an attorney-in-fact, it is important to select someone you trust. You want someone with the necessary skills to handle the responsibilities you assign. You should also have a backup plan in case your first choice is unable or unwilling to serve.

How to Find a Durable Power of Attorney

There are a few key steps to take to find the right durable power of attorney for you. First, find an attorney who specializes in estate planning. They will have the knowledge that you need to help you make the best decisions for you and your family.

You also want to find out how much it will cost and how long it will take to complete the paperwork. Lastly, it is essential to read over the documents carefully and make sure they are correct and accurate before signing them.

It is a good idea to look at the reviews and reputation of a durable power of attorney before finalizing your decision. For example, Rhodes Law Firm has an outstanding rating when it comes to its power of attorney services.

Need a Trusted, Durable Power of Attorney?

A durable power of attorney can be a valuable tool in estate planning. By appointing an attorney-in-fact, you can ensure that your affairs will be handled if you become incapacitated. This can provide peace of mind for you and your loved ones and avoid potential conflict among family members or friends.

If you’re looking for a trusted, durable power of attorney that you can depend on, we’re here to help. We’ve helped numerous families with their estate planning, and we can do the same for you. Contact our dedicated team of attorneys to get started today!

When to Have a Lawyer Look Over Your Business Contract

Mass Media

If you’re like most small business owners, you probably don’t have a lot of experience negotiating contracts. And that’s okay, most people don’t. Actually, the majority of people shy away from business contracts because they seem too complex. Therefore, it’s important to be careful when signing any agreement, no matter how minor it may seem.

That’s where having a lawyer look over your business contract comes in. With a little guidance, you can understand the basics of what you’re signing. If you’re starting a business, and you’re wondering if you need to hire a lawyer, below are a few telltale signs that’ll give you a hint. Just keep reading!

You’re Not Familiar With Legalese

If you’re starting a business, it’s important to have a lawyer look over your business contract. Though you may be familiar with the basics of business law, there may be clauses in the contract that you’re not familiar with. A lawyer can explain the implications of these clauses and help you negotiate more favorable terms if necessary.

Additionally, a lawyer can help you draft a business contract that will better protect your interests. Before signing any business contract, make sure to consult with a lawyer to ensure that you’re getting the best possible deal.

There’s a Lot of Money or Property at Stake in the Contract

If you’re entering into a contract where there’s a lot of money or property at stake, it’s vital to hire an attorney to review the contract before you sign it. Attorneys have the skills to identify legal mistakes in the contract and make sure that it’s fair for all parties involved. This is especially important for small businesses that may be at a disadvantage when negotiating with larger companies.

By hiring an attorney to review your contract, you can protect yourself from legal mistakes that could cost you dearly down the road.

You’re Entering Into a Partnership or LLC Agreement

When going into a partnership or LLC agreement, you must consult with an experienced business lawyer to ensure that the agreement is properly drafted and that your interests are represented. A well-drafted business contract sets forth the rights and obligations of each party. It can also help to prevent disputes later on.

Furthermore, an attorney can advise you on the tax implications of your business arrangement and ensure that your business complies with all applicable laws. By consulting with a business lawyer at the outset, you’ll protect your interests and avoid costly legal problems in the future.

You’re Starting a Business and Need to Draft Contracts for Services

When starting a small business, it’s essential to have clear and concise contracts for all of your products and services. Doing so helps to protect your interests and guarantees that both parties understand the terms of the agreement. When drafting contracts, include key details like the scope of work, payment terms, delivery schedules, and other relevant information.

It’s also important to make sure that both parties sign and date the contract. This provides a record of the agreement and helps to prevent future misunderstandings. Drafting a well-crafted contract provides smooth sailing for your new business.

You Want to Make Sure That the Other Party Is Held to Their Contractual Obligations

When two parties enter into a contract, they’re each obligated to uphold their end of the agreement. However, sometimes one party may breach the contract, or fail to live up to their obligations. If this happens, the other party may want to take legal action in order to enforce the terms of the contract.

However, before taking any legal action, consult with an experienced attorney. An attorney can help to assess the situation and identify legal mistakes that might have been made.

Additionally, an attorney can help to negotiate a resolution with the other party or represent you in court if necessary. By consulting with a lawyer early on, you can increase your chances of achieving a favorable outcome.

It Seems Too Good to Be True

If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Get a lawyer to check out the contract before signing! A business contract is a legally binding agreement between two or more parties. Contracts can be oral or written, but it’s always best to get a lawyer to check out the contract before signing. This is because sometimes things that seem too good to be true probably are.

For example, an oral business contract may not be enforceable in court, or the terms of the contract may not be what you thought they were. If you are unsure about any contracts you are asked to sign, it is always best to consult with an experienced lawyer beforehand. This way, you can be sure that you are getting into a contract that is fair and legal.

Be Careful When Signing a Business Contract

As mentioned above, please make sure you fully understand the terms of a business contract before signing on the dotted line. Doing so could save you a lot of money, time, and hassle in the future.

At Rhodes Law Firm, our team of experienced attorneys can help you understand what you’re agreeing to and protect your interests if anything goes wrong. We have the skills and knowledge needed to back you up in any situation.

If you’d like to reach out, please contact us online or call us at one of our offices. We look forward to serving you soon!

Around the Web: Flexibility is key when it comes to your estate guidelines

Mass Media

Conditions and stipulations can be a great way to ensure your estate is properly handled after your passing. However, if you are too controlling or there are too strict stipulations, this could actually hinder your plans. So how do you find a good balance between conditions and controlling? 


This Kiplinger article helps navigate this tricky area of estate planning. Often, people making their wills want to set ground rules for how their estate is used. Concerns may arise that your child, if left to their own devices, may deplete their trust fund too quickly. One way you can set boundaries without being too controlling is by utilizing the HEMS standard, allowing distributions to be made for health, education, maintenance, and support. This standard allows them to be supported in a practical way.


It’s important to keep flexibility in mind, since life is often unpredictable. Imposing strict standards, such as “distributions may be made to my child after they have their first child” don’t allow for any flexibility or unpredictability. Your child may face infertility issues, or choose to not have children for a host of reasons. This restriction may seem more like a punishment than a form of support. 


If you need assistance with creating guidelines for your estate, Rhodes Law Firm can help! Give our team a call today.

How Estate Planning Services Constructs a Lasting Family Legacy

Mass Media

It’s never a pleasant conversation. It’s often filled with dread as the finality of death looms. Children in particular despise having this conversation with their parents, but it’s one that must be had.

Think of estate planning this way. You get to leave a lasting legacy for your children and for generations to come. Estate planning services help you protect your assets and your family’s future. Here’s how they do it.

What Is Estate Planning?

Estate planning is the process of organizing your finances and property in anticipation of death. It’s a way to ensure that your loved ones are taken care of after you’re gone. Planning for the distribution of your assets after your death is a vital part of responsible financial planning.

Estate planning services help you to create a plan that takes into account your circumstances and goals. One of the most important considerations in estate planning is the selection of an executor. They will be responsible for carrying out your wishes.

The executor should be someone you trust to follow your instructions and make decisions in the best interests of your beneficiaries.

Another key component of an effective estate plan is asset protection. This is the use of wills and trusts and other legal mechanisms to safeguard your assets from creditors. It also prevents others from making claims against them.

By working with an experienced estate planning attorney, you can ensure that your assets are protected and that your family legacy passes on to future generations.

What Is a Family Legacy?

There are many different ways to define a family legacy. A family legacy is any property, real or personal, that passes down from one generation to the next. This can include homes, businesses, artwork, heirlooms, and even debt.

A family legacy can also take the form of intangible things like traditions, values, and knowledge. In some cases, a family legacy may be positive, such as a valuable piece of property or a thriving business.

However, a family legacy can also be negative, such as a history of mental illness or substance abuse. No matter what form it takes, a family legacy is an important part of one’s identity and should be treated with care.

Is a Will Not Enough?

While a will is an important part of estate planning, it is not the only tool available. There are many circumstances in which a will may not be the best option. For example, if you hаve have young children, you may want to consider setting up a trust to provide for their care and education.

A trust can also manage assets for disabled family members or minimize taxes. An estate planning attorney can help you determine which tools are best for your situation.

If you have a complex financial situation, or if you want to provide for someone who is not a direct heir, a trust may be a better solution.

An irrevocable trust cannot change after its creation. This means that once the assets go into the trust, they cannot be removed. This can be helpful in asset protection and estate tax planning.

Benefits of Estate Planning

While estate planning may seem like something that only wealthy people need to worry about, it is important for everyone. For one, estate planning offers peace of mind. Knowing that your affairs are in order and that your loved ones will be taken care of according to your wishes can help you enjoy your life more fully.

If you have a clear estate plan in place, it can help to avoid family disputes and disagreements about how your assets should be divided.

A well-designed estate plan can help to minimize taxes and other expenses, which can save your loved ones some money.

An estate plan can also help to protect your assets from creditors and others who may try to take advantage of your death.

These are just a few of the benefits of estate planning. If you have not yet done so, it is never too late to start planning for the future. Protecting your children, your assets, and your family legacy is an important part of responsible adulthood.

A Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA)

This is an important part of your estate plan. A DPOA is a document that appoints someone else to make decisions on your behalf. This is useful if you become incapacitated and are unable to make decisions for yourself.

A DPOA can manage your financial affairs, including paying bills and making investments on your behalf. They can also make healthcare decisions, such as choosing what treatments you receive or authorizing someone to speak with your doctors on your behalf.

While a DPOA is generally revocable, meaning that you can cancel it at any time, it becomes irrevocable if you become incapacitated. As a result, it’s important to choose someone you trust to act as your agent. For married couples or people in a long-term relationship, this is usually the spouse or partner.

However, for divorced couples or those in a second marriage, this may not be the case. In these situations, it’s important to have a conversation about your wishes and designate someone who you want to make decisions for you.

For parents with minor children, a DPOA can also designate a guardian if something happens to both parents. This is an important step in planning for the worst and ensuring that your children will be taken care of if something happens to you. While no one likes to think about these things, it’s important to have a plan in place in case the worst should happen.

Estate Planning Services You Can Trust

Estate planning is more than just a means to ensure that the distribution of your assets is in accordance with your wishes after you die. Properly planned estates can also minimize estate taxes, protect your loved ones from probate, and provide for long-term care needs.

At Rhodes Law Firm, we work with you to create a comprehensive estate plan that will provide for your family’s future and help you achieve your estate planning goals. Contact us today for a consultation and enjoy estate planning services that offer peace of mind and a solid legacy for your family’s future.

How Much Does a Probate Lawyer Cost?

Mass Media

Have you just lost a loved one, and you’re not sure what to do next? Filing for probate can be confusing and overwhelming. There are many steps involved, and it’s easy to make a mistake that can cost you time and money.

Hiring a probate lawyer is the best way to ensure that your case is handled correctly.

A good lawyer will guide you through the process, answer your questions, and help you with planning for/protecting your children and protecting your interests.

If you are looking to hire a probate lawyer, you may be wondering how much they will charge. Probate lawyers typically charge by the hour, with rates varying depending on experience and location.

Read on to find out more:

What Is a Probate Lawyer’s Hourly Rate?

When someone dies, it’s important to have a plan in place for what will happen to their belongings. This may include hiring a probate lawyer. Probate lawyers specialize in the legal process of dividing up a person’s assets after they die.

If you don’t have a will or other estate planning documents, the court will appoint a lawyer to handle your estate and they will charge you for their services.

A lawyer can save your loved ones time and headaches if you hire the lawyer. Probate can be complicated and time-consuming, but with a probate lawyer, it doesn’t have to be.

How Much Experience Does the Lawyer Have?

The cost of a probate lawyer depends on how experienced the lawyer is and how complex the estate is. Lawyers who are more experienced will charge more than those who are less experienced.

If an estate is large and complex, it will take longer to resolve, so the lawyer’s fees will be higher.

However, many lawyers offer free consultations, so you should speak with a few different ones to get an idea of what they would charge in your case.

Is the Estate Complex?

The cost of probate typically depends on how complex the estate is. If the estate is small and easy to deal with, the cost will be lower. If the estate is large and more complicated, the cost will be higher.

There may be other factors that contribute to the total cost of probate, such as how many beneficiaries there are and how much time it takes to complete the process.

It’s important to talk to a probate lawyer to get an idea of what the total cost might be for your specific situation.

Will There Be Any Contested Issues?

Lawyers usually charge by the hour. The rate can vary depending on how complex the estate is and if there are any contested issues. You can expect to pay $100 to $500 per hour.

If the estate is large and complex, or if there are significant disputes among the heirs, costs can be much higher. In some cases, lawyers may charge a flat fee for their services.

This is more common when the estate is relatively small and there are no significant disputes among the heirs. Lawyers may also charge a retainer, which is an upfront fee that covers initial expenses and hours of work.

How Long Will the Process Take?

The process of distributing an estate after someone dies can be complex and time-consuming. This process is called probate. Many people choose to hire a probate lawyer to help them with this process.

These lawyers typically charge by the hour, and their rates can range from $100 to $400 per hour. In some cases, they may also charge a flat fee.

The total cost of hiring a probate lawyer will depend on the complexity of the estate and how long it takes to settle it. However, most people can expect to pay several thousand dollars for probate services.

What Are the Expected Costs?

The cost of hiring a probate lawyer can vary depending on the size and complexity of the estate, as well as the state where the probate is taking place. However, it is usually between 1-4% of the value of the estate.

For example, if an estate is worth $100,000, then you can expect to pay around $1,000-$4,000 for a lawyer’s services. Keep in mind that this estimate may vary depending on specific factors.

What Are the Risks Involved in Probate?

When someone dies, their estate must go through the probate process to be distributed to their heirs. This can be a complex and time-consuming process, so many people choose to hire a probate lawyer to handle it for them.

Probate lawyers typically charge by the hour, and their fees can range from $100 to $500 per hour. In addition, there may be other costs associated with the probate process, such as filing fees, appraisal fees, and bond fees.

While these costs can add up, hiring a probate lawyer can help to ensure that the process goes smoothly and that your loved one’s estate is properly taken care of.

What Are the Benefits of Hiring a Probate Lawyer?

The death of a loved one is always difficult, but with a probate lawyer, you can have some help. Probate lawyers know all about the law and what needs to be done in the case of wills/trusts.

They can make sure everything is filed correctly and help in court. It may cost more money, but it can be worth it for the peace of mind you get.

How Can I Find a Reputable Probate Lawyer?

The cost of a probate lawyer can vary depending on the state you live in and how complex the estate is. However, most people will pay between $1,500 and $3,000 for a basic probate case.

If the estate is more complex, you may have to pay more. You can find a good probate lawyer by asking friends and family for recommendations, or by searching online.

Once you’ve found a few lawyers that you’re interested in, contact them, and be sure to ask about their experience and fees before making a decision and handing over durable power of attorney.

What Should I Expect During the Probate Process?

Making a will is important. It helps when someone dies. A person who dies wants things to go to the right people. This is called probate. The probate process can be hard, but with a lawyer, it will go more smoothly.

As you can see, the cost of hiring a probate lawyer varies depending on the experience and location of the lawyer.  For more information about probate law and the costs associated with it, check out our blog for more articles like this.

Around the Web: Estate Planning Essentials for 20- and 30-Somethings

Mass Media

It’s never too early to start thinking about your estate plan. When you’re in your 30s or even in your 20s, it can be wise to start planning for your future. After all, life is unpredictable and anything can happen at any time. It’s better to be prepared. This article explains several estate planning essentials every young adult should consider.

  1. Student Loans – While federal student loans discharge in the event of your death, if you took out a private loan or your parents co-signed with you, they could be on the hook for the loan in the event of your passing. If this is the case, you should consider buying insurance in the amount necessary to account for your debts. This should include your mortgage or any other outstanding loans you may have.
  2. Power of Attorney – Who will make decisions for you if you are medically or physically unable to? Assigning power of attorney can mitigate any unnecessary, additional stress for your loved ones during what would be an already difficult time. Look online for a template to set up a POA. 
  3. Last Will and Testament – Life is unpredictable. If you passed away today, what would happen to your things? Without a will, a judge will decide that. Find an attorney who specializes in estate planning to help you create a solid last will and testament and name an executor. 
  4. Retirement Accounts and Beneficiaries – while you may not have as many assets as older people quite yet, it’s important to name a beneficiary and keep these documents updated whenever you make a big life change. This includes getting married or divorced. 
  5. Digital Assets – from cryptocurrency to social media accounts, list all of your digital assets and login information in a document with your estate attorney to help protect and preserve your accounts after your passing.
  6. Child Guardianship – It’s tough to think about, but critical to address. Help mitigate any additional pain or confusion by appointing a guardian in advance. If this isn’t done, the decision will be left up to a judge. 
  7. Don’t forget about pets – Who will take care of your beloved pet when you pass away? Prevent more heartache by deciding this now. You can also create a pet trust to cover food costs and veterinary care.

How to Choose an Estate Planning Law Attorney

Mass Media

In the United States, only 33% of people have a will or living trust. Many people that do not have a will or living trust say that they don’t have enough assets to leave behind. Even with very few assets, estate planning is an essential part of end-of-life planning.

If you want help with estate planning but don’t know where to start, finding an attorney that specializes in estate planning law can help! Because you are putting a lot of trust in their hands, you must find a reliable lawyer to work with.

Do you want to learn more about choosing an estate planning attorney that meets your needs? Keep reading this guide for the top factors you should consider when choosing an estate attorney.

How Long Has the Attorney Been Practicing?

Learning how long the attorney has been practicing is the first thing you must learn before hiring an attorney as your estate planner.

Make sure your attorney has several years of experience practicing in the areas of probate, wills and trusts, and estate planning law. This way, they will have the experience necessary to help you with your case and will be up-to-date on the current laws and regulations surrounding estate planning law.

Plus, attorneys that have been practicing for longer and have a great local reputation will be better equipped to handle your specific, unique needs for estate planning.

What Percent of the Practice Is Devoted to Estate Planning?

Next, you should ask your attorney how much of their practice is devoted to estate planning. There are many different types of specialization that an attorney can choose. Each of these specializations deals with different laws and requires different knowledge.

Because of this, you should find an attorney that specializes in estate planning. Make sure their primary focus is on estate planning and trust law in your state.

This way, you can feel confident in the legal advice that they give you and you can be sure that your estate planning will be done correctly. You will also be able to get help with any other end-of-life planning services, including durable power of attorney.

Is the Attorney Friendly and Easy to Talk To?

Because you will be spending so much time with your estate planning attorney, you should find an attorney that is friendly and easy to talk to. This way, you will be comfortable discussing any of your questions or concerns about your estate planning needs.

Plus, estate planning requires a lot of personal information. You should make sure your lawyer puts you at ease and that you feel comfortable discussing your personal information with them.

Often, attorneys will offer a free consultation for potential clients. You can use this as an opportunity to meet with your attorney and see if your personalities match well together.

How Much Will You Pay For Your Estate Plan?

Legal fees can be quite expensive, which is one reason why many people have not started estate planning yet. To make sure you find a reliable estate planning lawyer that fits your budget, you should learn how much your estate plan is going to cost.

An estate plan can range in price from several hundred to several thousand dollars. Some lawyers will charge a flat rate for estate planning services while others will charge their clients an hourly fee.

If your lawyer provides you with a pricing estimate, make sure you ask for a written fee agreement. This way, you will know exactly what services are included in the price of your estate planning services.

Do They Require a Retainer?

Not only do you need to learn more about the legal fees your lawyer will charge for your estate plan, but you should also learn whether or not they require a retainer.

A legal retainer is a type of compensation that some lawyers will use as a way for clients to reserve their employment for the future. If your lawyer requires a retainer for their services, you may end up paying more for your estate plan.

If you schedule a consultation with your attorney, make sure you ask them if they require a retainer.

Is the Attorney Understandable and Good at Communicating?

Finding an estate attorney that is easy to understand and good at communicating is essential, especially when it comes to end-of-life planning. Estate law can be quite confusing for the average person. If your lawyer uses too much legal jargon, you may not be fully aware of what they are doing to help you.

Because of this, you need to find a lawyer that will take the time to clearly explain each aspect of estate planning to you!

Your attorney should also be willing to answer any questions that you have without making you feel embarrassed.

Is the Attorney Interested and Knowledgeable About Your Situation?

Finally, you need to find an estate planning attorney that is knowledgeable and interested in your situation. Every person will have different needs when it comes to estate planning. Because of this, you need to find an attorney that is knowledgeable about all the different areas of estate plan law.

You should also be sure that they are interested in helping you. If your attorney truly cares about your situation, they will provide you with better services. For example, if you were divorced, you may want your lawyer to help you with estate planning for 2nd marriages and planning for and protecting your children.

Make sure your lawyer cares enough about your estate planning needs that they get to know more about you and your unique situation.

Need Help With Estate Planning Law?

When you are looking for an estate planner, you must find one with the knowledge and experience to help you with your unique situation. Following these tips can help you find a reliable attorney to help you make an estate plan.

If you need help understanding estate planning law, Rhodes Law Firm can help! We specialize in estate planning and can help you protect your loved ones and your assets after you pass away.

Contact us today to learn more about our estate planning services and to get a free consultation.

Around The Web: Wills aren’t just for the elderly

Mass Media

One common misconception surrounding estate planning is that it’s something to worry about once you get older. This could not be further from the truth. It’s never too early to set up your will, especially if you have any pets, children, or even just a bank account. This article makes some great points regarding the importance of creating a will or estate plan sooner rather than later. 

So, what happens if you die without creating a will? State authorities will assume control of your assets and dependents and distribute them in accordance with your state’s laws. Do you share a home with a partner? Without a will, your partner most likely has no legal right to remain in the home after you pass away. It’s vital to express your wishes in a will or estate plan to ensure your loved ones are taken care of after your passing. 

Even if you are single, having a will in place can protect your assets and accounts. Here are just a few examples:

  • Pets – you can ensure your pets go to a loved one or someone you trust to care for them.
  • Financial Accounts – with a will, you can ensure your accounts are transferred to the intended recipient
  • Heirlooms and valuables – Pass on your most treasured possessions to someone special

If you’re ready to set up a will or discuss an estate plan, contact Rhodes Law Firm today! We can help give you peace of mind and guide you through the process.