Some people that oversimplify the estate planning process think that legal counsel is unnecessary. They intend to use some type of download that they get on the internet to draw up a will at some point. That’s all there is to it, right?
In reality, an estate planning lawyer can make all the difference for many families, we will provide some food for thought in this post.
Avoid DIY Mistakes
Consumer Reports is a highly respected, objective entity that took a long look at the subject of DIY estate planning some years ago. They used fill in the blanks, boilerplate simple will worksheets that they obtained from three of the most popular legal document websites.
Common hypothetical circumstances were used to create wills. Consumer Reports then engaged three prominent legal professors that are experts in the estate planning field. When they examined the documents, they found flaws.
They reported that unintended negative consequences can arise when inexperienced people use these tools. Ultimately, Consumer Reports advised readers to steer clear of DIY planning, because it is no substitute for an estate planning lawyer.
Choose the Right Asset Transfer Vehicle
The idea that a will is the only document that you need is shortsighted to say the least. Yes, a will can be adequate under some circumstances, but a living trust is a better choice in many cases.
One of the benefits is the avoidance of probate. This is a time-consuming and costly legal process, and it is a factor when a will is used. Probate is not necessary when assets are distributed through the terms of a living trust, so the administration process is streamlined.
A spendthrift provision can be included to protect the principal from the beneficiary’s creditors. The grantor of the trust can set terms with regard to the nature of the distributions. Limited, incremental payouts can be made to prevent poor decision-making and reckless spending.
This is one type of trust that can be ideal for a wide range of people, and there are many others. The right way to proceed will depend on the circumstances, but a layperson would have no reason to understand the options.
Explain Relevant Laws
Are you aware of your financial position relative to the federal estate tax? Do you know which states have state-level estate taxes and why you should care? Have you heard about the potential IRA changes that are looming over the horizon?
Many people have no reason to stay abreast of legislative matters that are relevant to the estate planning field, and this is understandable. At the same time, they can have a significant impact on some families if the appropriate actions are not taken.
Arranging effective asset transfers is a large part of the equation, the legacy preservation is important as well. Aside from the potential impact of estate taxes, there are other sources of legacy erosion that should be taken into consideration, and we can explain the threats.
Schedule a Consultation Today!
We recognize the fact that it can be disconcerting to discuss personal matters with a lawyer you have just met. This is one of the reasons why some people avoid the matter entirely.
Everyone on our team is sensitive to this dynamic, and we employ the golden rule. You will find that we treat our clients the way that we would want to be treated if we were in your position.
Since each situation is different, so personalized attention is key. This is what you will receive when you choose our firm, and we will be perfectly positioned to help you update the plan when it becomes necessary.
If you are ready to get started, you can call us at 818-937-2355 to set up a consultation appointment, and you can use our contact form to send us a message.