The Work Of Estate Planning Lawyers
An estate planning lawyer helps ensure the welfare of your immediate family and friends once you pass away. Additionally, he or she makes sure that your will meets the required standards and that it guides your executor and beneficiaries as they divide your assets.
Once you hire an estate planning lawyer, his or her immediate task is to help you create a will. The lawyer will need to establish your assets and know how you intend to distribute them. He or she will also assess your situation to determine the probability of your family members or third parties contesting the will. For instance, dependent members of your extended family could contest the will on the basis that they were not included in your will or that the will does not adequately provide for them. If this is the case, the lawyer could advise you to include a no-contest clause or an explanatory letter.
Your lawyer will ensure that the document meets the required standards. For instance, it must be signed by two witnesses. Besides, it should not contain contradicting clauses. He or she will also amend the will to suit your changing personal or financial situation. For example, you could want to remove a divorced spouse or deceased beneficiary from your will.
The wills and estates lawyer will help you prepare for the probate process. For instance, he or she will ask you to appoint a trusted individual to act as your executor. Ideally, the executor should be someone that can manage your estate before beneficiaries receive their inheritance. The lawyer will help you prepare for potential problems, such as a case where the executor is unavailable to take charge of the probate process. Such situations can be avoided by ensuring that your will has at least two executors.
How will you manage your financial and legal affairs if you are incapacitated due to poor health? Your lawyer will help you draft a power of attorney. This is a document that empowers an agent to handle your finances and legal matters if you are indisposed. You could also sanction the agent to make medical decisions, such as whether you should go into surgery.
Once you die, the lawyer will contact the executor and help him or her apply for probate. He or she will also read the terms of your will to the beneficiaries. Your lawyer will also help the executor to repay your taxes and debts. Additionally, the professional will assist beneficiaries in transferring the assets into their names.