6 Reasons Why You Should Hire an Estate Planning Attorney

Jeremy AtwoodEstate Planning

Why You Should Hire an Estate Planning Attorney

Believe it or not, almost everyone has an estate: whether it’s your home, car, real estate, checking/saving accounts, investments, life insurance, furniture, or other personal belongings. You’ve probably spent your entire life building it from the ground.

But what happens to your possessions when you’re no longer around? 

Like 33% of Americans, you may want to dictate how your estate is distributed among the people and organizations you care about. That’s where an estate plan can help. 

An estate plan is a legal document that lays down who should inherit your assets, what they should receive, and when they should receive it. It can also include: 

  • Instructions to take care of you if you become disabled or incapacitated 
  • A guardian nomination for minor children 
  • A care regime for loved ones with special needs 
  • Protection for loved ones going through bankruptcy or divorce 
  • Ways to minimize taxes and unnecessary legal costs  

A well-defined estate plan will honor your wishes and ensure your legacy passes to a worthy heir. However, you’ll need a qualified estate planning attorney in your corner to make this happen. 

Dividing your assets is stressful. Even one misspelled word or signature can turn your entire estate plan on its head. In this regard, hiring an estate planning lawyer can benefit you in the following ways.

1. They Can Save Your Loved Ones the Trouble of Probate

Probate is the lengthy and expensive legal process of transferring your estate to its rightful beneficiaries. Typically, it involves the following steps. 

  • Appointing a representative 
  • Producing the will and death certificate 
  • Verifying the will using witness testimony 
  • Appointing an executor 
  • Getting testamentary letters that let the executor work on your behalf 
  • Locating and estimating the value of the estate 
  • Posting a bond to insure against the executor’s potential mistakes 
  • Notifying creditors 
  • Paying remaining debts and taxes 
  • Distributing the assets 

Not only is probate taxing, but it’s also incredibly public (being handled in court). You probably don’t want your personal and financial details made available to anyone who asks. 

However, working with an estate planning lawyer can help your loved ones avoid probate altogether. A seasoned attorney will help you designate all your assets through different legal mechanisms, so your heirs don’t have to take matters to court.

2. They’ll Protect Your Loved Ones

An estate planning attorney in Utah will draft several documents that’ll keep your family from jumping through hoops after you pass. Typically, these include: 

  • Will/Pourover will 
  • Guardianship nomination 
  • Medical directive 
  • Trust 
  • Power of Attorney 
  • General Assignment 

Furthermore, they’ll be sure to add verbiage that secures your assets for the right people. For example, you can use their assistance to set up a trust fund for your minor children, so they can receive an inheritance when they reach adulthood.  

With a consolidated estate plan, you’ll know your wishes will be carried out after you pass. And an estate planning lawyer in Utah will walk the distance to honor them as best as possible.

3. They’ll Help You Navigate the Law

Probate and estate laws are highly complex. They cover specific things, such as what does/does not qualify as a will, what makes a will valid/invalid, the proper way to form a trust, what goes into choosing a medical/financial power of attorney, and more. Additionally, state law governs who can or cannot function as the executor of an estate. 

While you can follow basic instructions and forge an estate plan alone, you may miss out on some crucial legal mandates. And by the time anyone figures this out, it might be too late. 

An estate planning lawyer will help you comply with current and future estate laws. Because lawyers constantly monitor changing regulations, you can rest assured that your documents will be legally sound.

4. They Can Update Your Estate Documents Whenever Necessary

Major life events can have a significant impact on your finances. For example, you may divorce, re-marry, and have children with your new spouse. When you go through these changes, you must update your estate plan to thwart potential issues among beneficiaries. 

That’s not all. Your financial status can also change during your lifetime, meaning you might want to reassess how much you want to leave behind for those surviving you. 

Whatever the case, an estate planning lawyer in Utah will save you the headache of worrying about your will/trust as you transition from one phase of life to another. They will keep updating your estate plan as and when you require them.

5. They Can Help You Minimize Taxes

Your estate may be liable for federal taxes, depending on: 

  • Its gross value 
  • The amount of debt you owe at the time you pass 
  • The total expenses incurred during the settlement process 
  • Any deductions your estate is eligible for 

Federal taxes can take a large chunk out of your beneficiaries’ inheritance. Fortunately, an estate planning attorney can enable you to reduce the amount of taxes your estate will owe. For example, they may advise you to leverage trusts, give charitable donations, or take advantage of any federal tax exemptions.

6. They Will Support Your Family Through a Difficult Time

Death is never easy. Your grieving family can be too devastated to contemplate dividing your assets. Or, they might not know where to begin. 

A sympathetic and experienced estate planning attorney can guide your family in the right direction. They’ll be able to answer any questions and make it easier for your beneficiaries to carry out their final wishes. Plus, you’ll have the peace of knowing your loved ones are in good hands. 

The Bottom Line

Creating an estate plan is one of the most thoughtful things you can do for your family. However, given the legal implications of a will/trust, we strongly advise against doing it on your own. Now that you know the six reasons you should hire an estate planning attorney, the next step is to find someone who meets your needs. 

At Jeremy Atwood Law, we take your wishes seriously. That’s why our competent estate planning attorneys can create estate plans that reflect them in detail. We’ll defend your interests to the best of our abilities. For more information, contact us today!