Are you aware of estate litigation traps? Chances are, like most people, you do not. Because people whom are not involved with law practices may fall into these traps, it is important to work with an estate planning lawyer experienced with estate litigation. The more experienced your estate planning lawyer is with the process of estate litigation, the least likely your estate is to fall upon these issues.
There are many facets to the estate planning process ranging from complex to simple:
- Creating a will
- Creating a trust (or several trusts)
- Establishing a durable power of attorney
- Establishing a medical power of attorney
- Planning for long term care or nursing home expenses
These are just some of the areas of the estate planning process your estate planning lawyer will go over with you, in addition to addressing any questions and concerns you may have. In addition to creating these documents according to your plan, your estate planning lawyer will help you reduce or avoid estate taxes and help reduce your beneficiary’s inheritance taxes. With all this under consideration, your estate planning lawyer’s priority should also be establishing ways to avoid estate litigation.
Like probate, estate litigation is a costly process sometimes taking years to resolve. Until the process is complete, beneficiaries of your estate have no access to any assets or properties within your estate. During the selection process, choose an estate planning lawyer who has spent time in court on a regular bases working with estate litigation cases. If you fail to research this aspect, you may inadvertently choose an attorney who is not experienced enough to help avoid the litigation process. The techniques they are parsed in will save an enormous amount of money.
Once you have chosen and began working with your estate planning attorney, keep conferring with them regularly. Inquire frequently about ways to avoid probate, how to reduce estate taxes and if you need additional tools like asset protection planning. There is no such thing as asking too many questions with regard to how your assets and properties are handled following your passing.
Be sure to update all of your documents on a regular basis to include changing or adding beneficiaries, adding or changing assets or properties, and adding or changing your health care directive. Because life changes so frequently, these documents that reflect your life are going to change just as often.
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