No one wants to think about it, but eventually we may all need to hire a will and trust attorney for estate planning assistance. Especially in the case of complex estates, failing to leave a plan could be the first step in your family becoming the subject of an NBC news story of intrigue, family strife, and lawsuits. Of course, that may not happen. But you can never tell when supposed creditors or your fifth cousin, thrice removed will show up at the door of your estate expecting a suitcase full of cash.
The first consideration before you hire a will and trust attorney, beyond which actor you want to play you in the made-for-tv movie, is to know the nuances between a will and a trust. A will is a legal document that people develop to dictate how they want their assets distributed after their death. This includes both financial and material assets. Wills can appoint personal representatives and set specific instructions on how and when inheritances are distributed. In order to get a will approved, the person must submit the will to the local probate court where the person resides. The probate court judge then has the job of ensuring the will is legal and created accordingly
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A trust is a bit different from a will, although it too is a legal entity. It is designed to protect the assets you own. Unlike a will, a trust does not have to go through probate court to get approved. Furthermore, a trust goes into effect as soon as it is created unlike a will, which goes into effect only after the person dies. This means that a beneficiary of trust can begin receiving assets from the trust as soon as it is developed, regardless of whether or not the trustee is alive. Trusts can be costly and are generally best for people with a lot of assets. The most common type of trust is called an irrevocable trust, which, like the name implies, cannot be changed once it is created. For instance, if someone creates an irrevocable trust and puts a specific amount of money or property in it, that amount cannot be changed or taken out.
Understanding the benefits of hiring a will and trust attorney
Hiring a will and trust attorney can make the entire estate planning process easier. In regards to a will, an attorney can help draft the will so that your wishes are accurately portrayed and carried out accordingly. A will and trust attorney can also help with any legal proceedings that arise, including with probate. The attorney also serves as a neutral third-party if there is a difficult family dynamic to maneuver. If the will is ever challenged by someone, the attorney can provide a well-designed document outlining all of the specific wishes of the will’s trustee.
Hiring an attorney to develop your will ensures there are no mistakes and it avoids the need to learn how to properly create a will. The intricacies of developing a will, like the outlining of all assets and naming the right people as beneficiaries or benefactors, are also much easier for a trained professional to handle.
Some people choose to make their will on their own. They put in the appropriate time and effort and learn the necessary methods for doing it. However, creating a trust on one’s own is much more complex, and it is usually better to have an attorney involved. Not only can an attorney help in setting up the trust, the attorney will have particular insight on the legalities, the funding of the trust, and recommendations for the best way to minimize tax burdens.
Hiring a will and trust attorney is a good idea for people with complex assets, who want to ensure that they are saving as much as possible on taxes while still distributing their assets accordingly. Hiring an attorney to develop a will is a smart idea if you have no understanding of the process or you do not have the time to dedicate to the process.
Will you use a will and trust lawyer for your estate planning process?