In the US, the mortality rate is nearly 3 million per year. And many of these individuals pass away without an estate plan. The good news is that an estate planning attorney can help you strategize for the future.
Future planning is a complicated and lengthy legal process. But without it, your loved ones may not be able to live normally after your death.
And don’t think you can DIY your estate plan. Online forms and software systems don’t have the same legal bearing as an estate plan drafted by an experienced attorney.
Need more to convince you that you need a lawyer to help with planning your estate? Then keep reading.
What Is Estate Planning?
Estate planning is the process of making arrangements in case of someone’s death. Arrangements include the divvying of assets to heirs and determining how the government enforces estate taxes. Estate plans may also encompass:
- Setting up trusts
- Establishing any donations to charity
- Naming beneficiaries
- Organizing funeral arrangements
- Guardianship of children who are minors
Usually, the estate owner specified the above arrangements in his or her will. In the will, the estate owner may also name an executor who will ensure the will’s terms are properly enforced.
The estate executive will be the person who submits the will to a court upon your death. Without a will or an executor, a court will decide how to divvy up your assets among all possible heirs.
The Benefits of Hiring an Estate Planning Attorney
Estate planning is a legal process. And writing a will requires knowledge of Federal and state laws. These laws lay out what can and cannot go into a will.
Failing to get your estate plan done the right way can mean bad news for your loved ones. That’s one reason why hiring an estate planning lawyer is so critical.
Here are a few more benefits of using an attorney to create your estate plan.
Estate Planning Lawyers Offer Convenience
Estate planning is complicated and time-consuming. It requires specific language that non-lawyers can easily misinterpret. And as we’ve mentioned, getting your will wrong could impact your heirs’ inheritance.
You could set up a trust and write a will yourself. But as you’ll see next, DIY estate plans have some serious drawbacks. It’s always easier (and cheaper) to just hire an attorney the first time.
DIY Wills Aren’t Necessarily Legally Enforceable
You can find DIY will forms online. They may be legal to use, but they aren’t necessarily legally enforceable. In other words, a court of law may not uphold the requests you make in your DIY will after your death.
Estate plans should be indisputable. If yours isn’t, your family may have to pay out of pocket to fight in court. An estate planning lawyer has the expertise to make your will hold firm, so your heirs don’t suffer the consequences.
If You Have a Will Already, an Estate Planning Attorney Can Update It
Laws are always changing. So, if you have an estate plan already, you may need to update it. You should also update your estate plan after any major life events.
You should always have your will updated after marriage, divorce, the birth of a child, or the purchase of assets. An estate lawyer can help you update your will in case of these events and many more.
Who Needs an Attorney for Future Planning?
You Don’t Have Any Heirs
Estate owners without any heirs (children, legal spouses, etc.) may have to forfeit their assets to the state of Georgia. With an estate plan attorney, you can help ensure your assets stay out of the state’s hands.
You Have a Family
Do you know how your spouse and children will be provided for when you die? If not, an estate plan can set out terms for how and what each member of the family will inherit.
You Possess Foreign or Out-of-State Assets
Passing on out-of-state or out-of-country assets can be sticky. Each state has its own laws surrounding inheritance and wealth taxes.
An attorney can ensure your will complies with the law in the states in which you own property.
You Own a Business
Who will operate your small business when you pass? And if you’re an executive of your company, who will your successor(s) be? An estate planning attorney can help you decide what will happen to your business after you pass.
Your Estate Is Taxable
Estate taxes incur from property passed down after a person’s death. A lawyer can help your loved ones manage and understand how to file estate taxes after your death.
In 2021, the federal estate tax exclusion is $11.7 million, meaning your loved ones must pay an estate tax if your estate meets or exceeds this value. There is no state estate tax in Georgia.
Looking for the Best Estate Planning Lawyer?
An estate plan is a legal document outlining what will happen to your assets upon your death. Getting an estate plan attorney to take care of your future planning will ensure your will is enforced the way you wanted it to be.
Searching for an estate planning attorney near me? Contact us to find out how we can assist you with your estate plan.