What is an Estate Planning Attorney? 5 Important Reasons to Hire One

Laguna Niguel estate planning attorney

Estate planning isn’t just for wealthy people. Anyone who wants to plan ahead for their finances can benefit from meeting with a Laguna Niguel estate planning attorney to discuss wills, trusts, and other important documents. 

Estate planning makes life easier for your loved ones and ensures that they are taken care of after you pass away. Hiring an attorney makes the process much easier and helps you cover all your most important needs.

What is Estate Planning and How Can An Attorney Help?

Estate planning is the process of making plans for assets after your death. It can also include funeral plans, choosing a guardian for children under 18, and instructions on finding assets that might otherwise be overlooked.

After you pass away, your successor trustee and other appointed agents will use your estate plan for guidance, adhering to your wishes as closely as possible. 

An estate planning attorney who focuses in this area of law will include all the documents needed to help you solidify your wishes.

People who die without a will or other documents are considered intestate, and the probate court will determine how to distribute their property and make other important decisions on their behalf. This can result in legal fees, a delay in accessing your funds, and other inconveniences for your loved ones. 

The probate court also uses local law to determine who inherits your property, and they may not distribute things the way you want them to. If you have a partner you aren’t married to, for example, that person may not have a legal right to any of your assets.

Making an estate plan will allow your loved ones to settle your debts and other affairs more easily, reducing their stress during an already difficult time. It also makes it easier for them to follow your final wishes for funeral arrangements. It’s never too early to start planning for the future. 

1. Cater to Your Unique Needs

Everyone’s estate plan is different, so it’s important to get personalized legal advice to help you create a solid plan. Depending on your assets, your family situation, and other concerns, you can use a variety of legal documents to clearly plan out your final wishes, from funeral plans to distributing your property. 

With the help of your attorney, you can figure out the best ways to approach your various concerns, such as how to leave assets to different loved ones or how to transfer property to trusts.

If you have special concerns, like a beneficiary with a disability or a beneficiary prone to reckless spending, an experienced attorney can help you find a satisfactory solution. 

2. Help Drafting Legal Documents

When it comes to your will, trust, and power of attorney documents, it’s vital to make sure that they are legally sound. Minor slip-ups, like out-of-date paperwork or a lack of a signature, can send your estate to probate and cost significant legal fees. 

It’s hard to know where to start when drafting a will, even with the help of templates. Trying to do your own legal writing can be a minefield. In legal writing, certain words and phrases have very specific meanings that most laypeople aren’t aware of. 

Trusts can be quite complex, and you’ll need an attorney to help you draft the terms of each one you create. A trust attorney in Orange County can help you learn more about which trust fits your situation and help you create one that fits your needs perfectly. 

3. Ensure Your Estate Plan is Legally Sound

It’s vital that your estate plan is filed correctly and legally. If there are any issues or concerns, it may cause more trouble for your loved ones and delay their inheritance. 

A skilled attorney will make sure that your will can hold up in court and under the scrutiny of everyone in your life. 

All of your legal documents must be current and tailored to fit the latest estate laws. They should also be updated whenever you go through any major life changes, such as marriage, divorce, the birth of a child, and so on. You may need to add or remove trustees or beneficiaries from your will. 

We can streamline the process of updating your plan, making it easy to fit into your busy life.

4. Advice on Protecting Your Assets

While you may have a clear idea of how you want to divide your assets, you may not have the expertise needed to figure out the best way to distribute them. Estate taxes and other legal fees can quickly eat up a chunk of your estate. It’s important to protect your estate as much as possible using trusts and other tools. 

For example, if you plan to use Medicaid to cover legal expenses, this trust will help you protect your home and other large assets from Medicaid estate recovery plans that come into play after your death. 

Medicaid may seek reimbursement for the money they spent on your care, which can cut into your estate. Proper protection will allow you to pass those assets on to your children instead.

Your attorney can advise you on challenging situations like this and suggest different options.

5. Create a Thorough Plan

Estate planning takes an investment of time and effort. It’s easy to leave out people or assets if you don’t plan carefully. 

Working with an attorney makes it easier to keep track of your assets and ensure that they will go to your beneficiaries after your death. Otherwise, it’s possible to forget about some assets, especially intangible ones like insurance policies or digital currency.

There are several ways to make sure all your assets are accounted for, including pour-over wills. 

A pour-over will work in tandem with a pre-established trust. This type of will is a catch-all that ensures many assets not included in your trust are automatically added to that trust after you pass away, such as your vehicles or boat for example. This way, you can make sure that all of your assets are included, even if they aren’t specifically mentioned in your will.

Get the Right Estate Planning Attorney for Your Needs

Our law offices provide the support you need when working on this important aspect of financial planning. Book a consultation to learn more about our services by contacting us at Parker Law Offices today! 

Maria Parker assists her clients plan for their end of life health care wishes and the ultimate distribution of their wealth after death. She personally experienced the importance of planning at the time her father passed away.

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Estate Planning Attorney in Orange County, CA
Wills & Trusts, Estate & Trust Administration, Probate, and Health Care Power of Attorney
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