If you have a plan for your final will and testament and need an estate plan, you may need an estate planning attorney. Estate planning is a complex legal process that is not something a layperson should attempt without professional assistance. Estate planning lawyers, also called probate lawyers or estate law lawyers, are trained and licensed legal professionals with an extensive understanding of both federal and state laws that affect your estate. An estate plan is the formal document drawn up by your attorney which outlines the specifics of your last will and testament.
An estate planning attorney can draw up a will or a trust in accordance to state requirements or their own preferred methods and formats. Some states require no recorded communication, while others will allow recorded communications depending on the state’s particularities. A will must be signed by someone other than the attorney, and it must be prepared according to specific instructions laid out in the will.
An estate-planning lawyer can also draft a trust, making sure that all of your assets are transferred to the trust and not to any of your other family members or friends. A trust may be established for your benefit and used to pay certain debts, pay for a college education for a beneficiary or be dispersed to various heirs as you die. Some states allow you to decide who receives what amount from the estate after you die, while others require a family member or a trusted member of your family to receive all or part of the assets. Your estate plan can also be used as a means of protecting some or all of your assets in the event of your disability or in the event of your death.
You can hire a probate attorney or estate planning lawyer to assist you in the whole process, from drafting your will to execute it and sharing it with others. It may be an awkward and stressful time and you may feel overwhelmed and unsure of what to do. But by working with an experienced attorney, you can make the most of your will and ensure that your last wishes are carried out. In fact, by having a qualified attorney by your side, the entire estate planning process can be smoother and less expensive.
When you have finally decided that you need the services of a good estate planning attorney, there are several things you need to look for to make sure you get one you can trust. The first thing is to ask a lot of questions so that you feel comfortable working with him. You should also take a close look at his credentials and references so that you feel comfortable that he knows what he is doing. You can always check with the American Bar Association for information on attorneys in your area.
Once you find an estate planning attorney who you are comfortable working with, your next step is to put together a comprehensive plan that details all of your finances, your estate plan and your instructions for distribution of your assets. This plan should include any beneficiaries and their living wills, any life insurance policies and the exact distribution of your assets. You also need to name a trustee to oversee the distribution of your assets and keep any other important paperwork updated.