A lot of people wonder what the big deal is about estate planning attorneys. After all, can’t any lawyer draw up a will? Technically, yes; but you probably need an estate planning attorney for anything more than a very simple will. And that’s the thing: you probably need more than a simple will.
So, the first question really is, “Why do I need an estate plan?”
A solid estate plan can help you accomplish all kinds of things beyond just passing on your assets through a will. It can help you pass on your assets outside of probate, saving your heirs time and money, with a Revocable Living Trust. It can help you plan for disability with a Revocable Living Trust or an Advance Directive. It can also help you minimize taxes, protect your assets from creditors, and help you pass on money to your children while preventing them from wasting it.
In order to accomplish these goals, however, you need an estate planning attorney. After all, you wouldn’t hire a patent attorney to handle your divorce, would you? Of course not! As accomplished as the patent attorney is likely to be, she doesn’t handle divorces all day, so she’s not experienced with all the in’s and out’s, and she’s likely to miss something.
It’s the same with estate planning. The rules involved in estate planning are highly specific, and they change frequently. Only someone who has a lot of experience in the area has the knowledge that’s required to avoid the many pitfalls.
An experienced estate planning attorney is aware of federal estate and income tax laws, as well as state laws governing estates and trusts. He or she knows all of the estate planning tools available to you, and can tailor them to your personal situation, in a cost-effective way, so that you receive an estate plan that is effective in preserving your assets and passing them on to the next generation according to your wishes.
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