Estate planning is often done by people nearing their retirement age. However, that must not be the case. You should do estate planning while you are still in your prime, and you’ve already acquired some properties and have started a family. Asking family members for a referral to a lawyer or talking to experts like Brian Douglas would be helpful so that you are well aware of what to do.
For those who are still wondering what estate planning is, here is a rundown for you:
Estate planning is the process of transferring your properties and other assets to your loved ones or beneficiaries while lessening the burden of tax dues in the process.
There are many ways to achieve this, and it is up to you which one applies or is more beneficial to your situation.
It is the most common and widely used tool in estate planning. It is imperative that you craft a will according to the standards of the state where it was created and will be executed. Failure to do this will mean that the will is void and dividing the estate in question will be in accordance with the laws of the state and not according to the wishes of the estate’s owner.
A trust is a multi-purpose tool that you can use in estate planning. You can make a trust as a method of distributing your assets after your death, or you can use it to provide financial support to your dependents who are minors or disabled.
For minor dependents, a spendthrift trust can be used to prevent extravagant spending by putting provisions in the form of monthly allowances. Developmentally disabled dependents can also make use of a special needs trust to cater to their financial needs.
Using a trust as a tool in estate planning gives you more control in managing the distribution of your assets.
- Advance directives
Mostly unknown to many, estate planning can also include advance directives. These documents contain information on their wishes for medical care or naming a proxy that can decide for them in terms of financial and medical decisions in case an unfortunate incident won’t allow them to verbalize or decide for themselves anymore.
You can do these by making a durable power of attorney for health care, durable power of attorney for finance, and a living will.
If you are interested in estate planning for yourself and your estate, contacting a lawyer who specializes in the field will be very helpful. Here is how you can find a legitimate lawyer who can help you in estate planning:
- Ask for referrals
Asking family and friends for referrals is the safest way of finding legal help in estate planning. If you already have a family lawyer, you may also consult with him regarding your plans and ask him for referrals if he cannot help you. A lawyer who specializes in estate planning is a much better choice since he has more experience in this particular field.
- Use the internet
Many people are against the idea of using the internet when looking for a legitimate lawyer because there are way too many scams online. However, one cannot deny that the internet is the most accessible place to look for everything, including a lawyer.
To be safe, use the internet to look for a lawyer but talk to them in person. Seeing their office and speaking to a lawyer in person where you can ask them about their educational background and experiences will lessen your chances of you being scammed.
For those planning a DIY estate planning, here are some ways you can do it correctly:
- Do thorough research.
Estate planning is a process that needs legal knowledge so be careful when researching. In making a DIY will, make sure that you download the ready “boilerplate” format from respected internet websites. Make sure that you also complete the whole process. Remember, a will has to be notarized to be considered valid so do your best not to make mistakes. Some states also have specific standards, and they may differ from different states.
- Discuss things with your bank
Your bank can help you in setting up trusts for your beneficiaries, and they may also offer other options similar to trusts that may be more beneficial to your circumstance.
When preparing your advance directives, you can also discuss with your bank the most straightforward solutions for what you have in mind. For example, when planning your funeral, you can coordinate with your bank in making an account that will automatically be used for paying for the services and expenses related to your funeral.
Estate planning is essential for everyone, and the more you know about it, the better your future will be. Do not try putting it off further and be proactive in securing a good future for your loved ones by making sure they get their inheritance with fewer burdens.