How to Determine Whether You Need an Estate Planning Lawyer

If you are in the process of determining whether or not to hire an Estate Planning attorney, there are several factors to consider.

For example:

  • How large is your estate? If your estate is worth more than a certain amount (which Congress reconsiders periodically), then it might be subject to hefty estate taxes. When estimating the value of your estate, keep in mind that it includes not only bank accounts but also any and all real estate, personal property (including jewelry and other valuables), life insurance, 401ks, pensions, and other investments, such as stocks or bonds.  Estate Planning attorneys are trained in how to legally minimize the portion of your estate that will be subject to Estate Taxes, such as through the utilization of transfers during life, charitable giving, establishing trusts, etc.
  • Will you establish any trusts? While the benefits of trusts are obvious, such as avoiding the costs, time, and overall hassle associated with Probate, they can be highly technical, especially if there require any nuanced considerations.
  • Do you have any special or uncommon family circumstances? For example, if you have a disabled child that relies on any form of governmental support, or may rely on such support in the future, then you may need to establish a Special Needs Trust in order to make sure that any future inheritance will not disqualify them for such benefits.
Lastly, perhaps the most important question you can ask yourself is how comfortable you feel with your decision. Keep in mind that when your Estate Plan becomes a reality, you will no longer be around to advocate your wishes or desires. All that will be available in the form of guidance are your Estate Planning documents.
You can find out more about many of your Estate Planning questions on LawInfo. If you have more questions, you can begin your search for a qualified Estate Planning Attorney. Many attorneys offer free initial consultations.