There are millions of people who die in the United States every year. While it’s morbid to think about, you never know when one of those people will be you or a loved one.
Rather than being surprised by adversity and then struggling to figure out how to manage assets that were tied to the person who passed, we recommend being active and engaging an estate law attorney.
Estate law attorneys specialize in ensuring that property transitions from a person post-passing to whoever they will that property to. If you’re fuzzy on when exactly an estate planning attorney is valuable, keep reading.
Below, let’s touch on several situations where it would behoove you to consult one of these legal professionals.
Drafting a Will
The most obvious instance where an estate law attorney is valuable is when you’re initially drafting a will. A will is a legal document that lays out a roadmap for how your assets will be distributed amongst family/friends when you pass.
Creating a will is not as simple as typing up a quick note describing your wishes.
Wills need to be based on whatever your state laws are and written in a way that combats people’s ability to hire lawyers to undermine your wishes and increase their inheritances. Estate law attorneys are invaluable to that end.
Updating Your Will
A will is not a document you should draft and then forget. Life circumstances change. People you bequeath property to may have passed away before you.
To make sure your recorded wishes are in lockstep with reality, assess your will once every year or every other year. When you do this, have an estate law attorney look over things with you.
Even if you’re satisfied with your directions, state laws may have changed which then beg verbiage updates to solidify your document’s efficacy.
Business Succession Plan Assistance
Estate law professionals aren’t focused solely on passing property down from one family member to another. They can also help you get your business affairs in order.
If you passed away tomorrow, who would inherit your business? What would happen to your business assets? How would your debtors be satisfied?
All of that information can be detailed in a professionally drafted succession plan with the help of a qualified attorney.
Help Willing Out of State Assets
Do you have assets in states you don’t live in? Those assets are likely governed by a different set of property rules that your locally drafted will may not be strong enough to direct.
Estate law planning can account for those assets and make sure steps are taken to grant you power over a foreign asset’s passage. If transferring certain types of property from other states is not as malleable as you’d like, your lawyer can tell you as much and help you liquidate those assets so you can will their proceeds rather than the property itself.
There are a lot of assumptions made by the law when it comes to where your property will go. This is especially true in community property states.
If your state is going to send property to people, you’d rather not capture a windfall from your passing. Hiring an attorney can help you take steps to rectify that issue.
While there is sometimes no way out of certain community property setups, you can count on your attorney to at least help you arrange your assets in a way where unwanted windfalls are dampened.
Questions Need to Be Answered
Families have a lot of questions and insecurities about inheritances, particularly when they’re anticipating the death of a loved one. During these times, an estate law attorney can be consulted with for the simple purpose of shedding light on some of those queries.
In many cases, estate law attorneys will even talk with people that have questions free of charge as part of their standard consultation services!
Validity Needs to Get Assessed
When it comes to your livelihood landing in the right hands, you can never be too careful about the quality of your legal documents. That’s why many people hire estate legal professionals to review their already drafted documents to see if they can find any holes in them.
Even if you have a great attorney you work with, getting a second set of eyes on documents that are this important is well worth the investment.
Dealing With Probate
Most people hire an estate law attorney to avoid probate. If you end up having to manage this process of fighting over the validity of legal documents anyhow, you’ll want to double down on your attorney investment to help ensure the probate process goes well for you.
Many estate law attorneys specialize in fighting for your needs during the probate process so find one that does and ensure you have them in your corner if you’re worried.
An Estate Law Attorney Takes the Pressure Off of Passing
When people pass away, many of them worry about how their loved ones will get on without them. An estate law attorney can take that pressure off of passing and give you, your loved ones, and friends the peace of mind that comes with knowing everything will transition as expected.
That’s a benefit that’s well worth pursuing.
We hope our post has added clarity to the value estate law attorneys represent. If you’d like more insight, consider diving deeper into the content we have available on our blog!