Getting to know Estate Law
Introduction: What Is A Will and How Does It Work?
Drawing up an estate plan protects your assets when you die and it helps to protect your family members. This is where a Will comes into play, which provides for the settlement of your property at the time of your death and your property is handled just the way that you want it disposed of. You can set up your Will the way you want, either in a general manner or you can be as specific as possible.
However, depending on where you live, your Will could also be subject to laws regarding estate planning, estate taxes (if any applies), and insurance clauses, that carries certain stipulations that could override certain of your provisions. Setting up a Will is called a “probate” process. With research and beforehand knowledge, you can circumvent some of these probate constraints, by creating a “living trust.”
What Is A Trust?
A living trust is a legal document that is drawn up to protect your assets through designated beneficiaries for quick distribution. You are the “grantor” of the Will and the “trustee,” which means that you keep control over the assets placed under this trust. If you would like, after your passing, you can name another “trustee” or someone to have “power of attorney,” to manage the distribution of your beneficiary requests, which is known as a “Declaration of Trust.”
Do I Really Need A Will?
To put things into perspective, as to why you need a Will, if you die without a Will, it is called dying “intestate.” Without a will, your state’s laws will determine who receives your property and assets. Laws will vary by state, but generally, the distribution of your assets will go to a spouse and/or children. Thus, a Will allows you to plan your own personal preferences and wishes to help loved ones who are left behind and for whom you want to carry on in the best financial way possible.
Benefits In Using An Estate Planning Law Center
Laws for planning your estate can become complicated and seem unfriendly toward your planned estate requirements. Yes, you can draw up a simple Will, depending on the amount of property and assets you have. However, to make sure that you did not miss something in drawing up your own Will and to make sure that your loved ones are cared for just the way you want, a qualified attorney whose skills are in planning qualified trusts, probates, taxes, and estates, should be consulted. Lawyers know and understand a lot of the minutia’s of estate planning law rules that effect your legal and personal distribution issues for your beneficiaries.
You don’t want to put all your hard work and savings at risk, when planning your estate, only to have it go through the hardship of estate or trust litigation’s, that costs a lot of money. There are services that many people are unfamiliar with and that have helped people all around the country in understanding estate planning law and state regulations. These services are provided by a helpful estate planning law center. They can help answer many questions, such as:
- Can a Will be changed?
- Is a Trust a substitute for a Will?
- How are assets distributed and what if I don’t have a lot of assets?
- How do I plan for my children or even my pets?
- What happens to my genetic embryos, eggs, or sperm on ice?
- How else can I avoid probate?
- Etc., etc., etc.
An estate planning law center helps individuals, families, commercial businesses, and other lawyers, solve many laws for planning their estate issues. They take the stress and uncertainty out of concerns about losing assets to the government or through lawsuits. Their legal professionals help families and business entities to handle issues involving:
- Medicaid planning for long term care,
- Probate and how to avoid it,
- Trust Administration,
- Guardianship and Elder care,
- Special Needs and Future Care Planning,
- Business Succession Planning
- Modern Planning as it pertains to transgender relationships, unmarried couples, blended families, and LGBT issues.
If you have listened to talk radio stations or watched TV and you see that a local legal workshop or seminar, is being offered at a location near where you live, it is most likely being sponsored by an estate planning law center. The centers provide information on laws regarding estate planning within their workshops and educational topics. They have helped many people and entities with post life planning and laws regarding estate planning. They are also available to help in unexpected life crisis.
Other issues that an estate planning law center helps with, includes:
- Estate and inheritance taxes
- Charitable gifts and trusts
- Medical power of attorney and
- Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment
Other factors in establishing a Will or Trust is that people forget to keep it updated. After all, changes take place in life after you first drew up your beneficiary requirements. Some things to think about if it has been sometime since you first draft of a Will, includes:
- is everyone living that you named
- have children aged
- was there a divorce
- did your asset or property increase or decrease
- should you add new people to your legacy
Estate Planning Laws
When it comes to taxes, the laws have changed. If millions of dollars are involved, then there are state and federal tax implications, but for the rest of us, there are no longer any tax issues. However, if applicable, a professional tax expert can tell you if your estate falls under the category of state taxes and inheritance taxes. Laws are on Capitol Hill, now to repeal and to further reform their enactments. The states that presently have an estate tax and/or an inheritance tax, includes:
Estate Tax: Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Hawaii, Washington, DC, Tennessee, Illinois, New York, Minnesota, Washington State, and Oregon.
Inheritance Tax: Nebraska, Idaho, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland.
Conclusion: The Importance of Estate Planning
Can you now see how a simple dream to leave your assets to people that you love, can become complicated and a little stressful. That is why, devising a Will or Trust is best left to the legal experts, so that you can literally rest in peace, knowing that everyone you love and care about are taken care of.