Estate planning has become a priority as concerns about the coronavirus pandemic have swept through our nation. Individuals of all ages who have procrastinated end-of-life planning now feel compelled to draft legal documents to protect their future. The main elements of an estate plan include a will, trust, power of attorney, and advanced directives for healthcare. For individuals with established estate plans, they should be revised and updated routinely, especially if there have been any significant lifestyle changes. Senior citizens, those with co-morbidities, and those with essential jobs such as frontline health care workers, are at a higher mortality risk, regardless of age.
Benefits of Hiring an Estate Planning Attorney
A knowledgeable estate planning attorney can draft a comprehensive estate plan that will be your voice if you are incapacitated. There are many tools to address your financial needs and goals. Estate planning is for everyone, including business owners, in need of succession planning.
A probate court supervises the closing of an estate, whether there is a will or no will. Probate is bypassed if the deceased has a properly drafted and funded trust. An estate planning attorney will minimize estate taxes for your heirs and draft documents with clarity to reduce legal contests and disagreements among beneficiaries. They have techniques to create favorable consequences for surviving family members, such as Medicaid planning strategies.
Estate Administration is a Complex Legal Process
Estate administration occurs on behalf of a decedent and is necessary for wills, trusts, and those that die intestate. This process can be very complicated and stressful for the beneficiaries at a time of grief. It is the process of gathering assets, paying debts, taxes, settling business affairs, and distributing the remainder of the estate to the deceased’s heirs. In closing an estate, there are many aspects to consider. These include reviewing the deceased insurances and employee benefit plans, transferring vehicle titles, canceling services and credit cards, and social media accounts. It is essential to transfer a deed for real estate and revise names and beneficiaries on accounts.
Estate planning attorneys have a vast knowledge of federal and state estate tax exemptions and laws. They can advise on avoiding estate taxes through options such as trusts to provide for family members with special needs or assisting with a charitable giving program. Following the loss of a loved one, heirs should seek legal counsel to revise their estate plans or establish a new estate plan to reflect changes.
Choosing an Estate Planning Attorney
It is vital to choose an attorney with in-depth knowledge about estate planning and is passionate about what they do. They should be responsive to the family’s needs and understand the emotional trauma of losing a loved one. Suggestions for searching for an attorney are referrals from persons you trust, reading online reviews, and testimonials. Looking for an office that handles a high volume of estate planning cases is a great way to start. In today’s climate of social distancing, conducting interviews of attorneys can be scheduled through video conferencing. There has been a shift to create legal documents through virtual estate planning by working remotely and collaborating with an attorney online. Effective July 1, 2020, Florida passed a law that permits electronic signing of documents, with third-party witnesses appearing remotely.
Finding the right estate planning and administration attorney can take hours of research. For the best estate-planning attorney near you, review our directory. This comprehensive list will introduce you to attorneys with outstanding reputations, extensive knowledge, and the skills to meet your needs. Read their reviews and ratings to find the attorney best suited for you.