ESTATE PLANNING: WHAT IT IS, AND WHY YOU NEED AN ATTORNEY

The sun rises in the east, and sets in the west.

The earth revolves around the sun.

The next president is either a Democrat or a Republican.

These are all sure bets; statements of facts that are rooted in quantifiable facts, facts you can unabashedly stake your life on. However, life is far from a sure bet—unexpected occurrences are a dime a dozen, and in a manner of speaking, failing to prepare is preparing to fail.

Hiring an estate planning lawyer, especially one versed in Federal and State laws is your way of preparing for both foreseen and unforeseen circumstances. Planning what happens to you estate—real estate, personal property, including automobiles, jewelries, and electronic property—is the surest way to prevent the ugly squabbles you have undoubtedly heard a lot about, upon the demise of the benefactor.

How An Estate Attorney Operates

Your attorney, at any given time, and especially when deciding what happens upon your demise or incapacitation, will provide you carefully curated and researched legal advice, in conjunction with experienced professionals. It is common practice for the so called will and trusts attorney to form a team including financial experts, insurance agents, medical personnel, and accountants, to ensure your estate is seamlessly handled upon demise or incapacitation.

Estate planning usually devolves into four major components; each carrying significant weight in deciding how, not only your estate is shared, but how yourpersonal wishes are respected when you are no longer capable of making such decisions.

Wills

A will clearly outlines how property, real and personal, is distributed upon an individual’s death. With a competent estate planning lawyer your entire estate is divided among your family member, loved ones, and beneficiaries exactly how you intend. A person who passes without a will is said to have died intestate; and the sharing formula for intestacy laws often differ widely from what you may have in mind. Preparing a willallows you to cater for those who may not be blood relatives but who you care for, an allowance that you forgo without a will or form of testament upon your passing.

Trusts

Setting up a trust for your beneficiaries: minors or adults, compels a trustee to make payments, or distribute your property to the named beneficiaries upon your passing or incapacitation. While a will is usually subject to the bureaucratic holdup of the probate, a trust bypasses that—making a trust the easiest way to divide your assets among your beneficiaries with little chance of hassles after your passing.

Financial Power of Attorney

Choosing who wields your power of attorney allows such a person make important financial decisions on your behalf in cases of emergency, when you are incapable of making sound financial decisions.

Living Wills/Healthcare Instructions

End of life decisions need not devolve into family squabbles or disagreements capable of tearing apart your family. Setting out a living will ensures all decisions regarding your health are, especially at the point of passage are in line with your wishes and your desires. You can clearly outline what happens in certain circumstances, or empower someone (your will and trust attorney, or a family member) with binding power of attorney for your health decisions.

The Necessity of Estate Planning

It is easy to make assumptions about what happens upon your passage—your loved ones would never battle over your estate, or that long-suffering maid whose daughter you promised a scholarship will definitely not be maligned upon you demise. Experience and human nature, however, have shown that the very worst of human nature creeps out during a moment as emotionally devastating as the demise of one’s benefactor.

 

*A Typical Nevada Intestacy Chart

Estate planning is, in essence, a continuation of your obligations/duties as a benefactor—ensuring your loved ones are well catered for after your inevitable passage. It is also a means to ensure you departments this world on your own terms, as you can make end of life decisions long before time, to ease you transition into the afterlife without arguments and disagreements between your loved ones.

Hiring an estate planning lawyer helps put your estate in order, at the moment of death and even long before that; and perhaps more importantly, keeps your family, friends and loved ones satisfied and well taken care, even from beyond this physical realm.