Would you have your regular, everyday doctor perform your heart surgery? Sounds like a stupid question, right? The same could be said for choosing the right attorney for your estate planning. Unfortunately, the legal profession does not have specialties, like the Medical profession, and so you often have to guess whether your attorney is qualified to best guide you on your estate planning and asset protection options.
Uncertainty is not a smart business plan, and that’s why we’re here – as attorneys devoted to only the practice area of planning and, in the case of your business, asset protection.
It seems every brochure or letter you receive from your bank, financial adviser, or brokerage firm asks if you have done your “estate plan.” The fact is, they can only help you with the financial planning aspects of your estate. You need a qualified estate planning lawyer to draft the legal documents that create an estate plan for you. A qualified attorney will work with your financial adviser and accountant to create the best plan for you.
Many attorneys attend a short seminar to learn one area of law and then immediately add it to their existing law practice – but it doesn’t work, because the intricacies around estate, Medicaid, and tax planning are extensive. Not only does the attorney need a thorough knowledge of probate law, estate administration, trust, asset protection, and Medicaid laws, they must also have an extensive knowledge of income tax, estate tax, gift tax, generation-skipping tax and excise tax laws.
All areas intertwine and have a significant impact on your estate plan.
While general attorneys may have some knowledge of the law and be able to guide you through certain parts of the estate or Medicaid planning processes, they will not be aware of the many exceptions and details an attorney who limits his practice to only estate planning will know. If your lawyer doesn’t fully understand one area, if could cost those people and causes you love some of what you’d hoped to pass along.
An attorney that does traffic court one day, divorce on another, business law on the third day and sues for personal injury on the fourth will not have the experience and knowledge of the loopholes as an attorney who practices exclusively in estate planning. If you’re looking for a divorce, find an attorney that focuses on divorce. If you want estate planning, use us.