Life can be unpredictable, but death is a reality none can avoid. Ensuring your affairs are in order so that your family has a guide to your wishes gives you peace of mind. This is because you know you’ve provided instructions for distributing your assets and who is to manage the process.
While you could scour the internet for do-it-yourself options, laws that govern estates vary from state to state, as do the taxes that apply to them. Leaving out essential details or using a boilerplate form that isn’t valid in your state can lead to prolonged and expensive legal proceedings for your family. That’s why you should consider the benefits of hiring an estate planning attorney.
Compliance and Currency
In the absence of a will or an estate plan, your family will have the burden of sorting out your affairs, often with the expense of involving the courts. An estate plan sets out what should happen to your personal property, your real estate, your business, if you own one, and your money. It identifies beneficiaries and names executors and trustees to manage your assets after you’re gone. If you don’t do it, the courts will. And if the laws change, an estates and trusts lawyer will make sure you update your documents to comply with any new requirements.
If you die without a properly drawn up will that places your assets into a trust, your will may have to be “probated” through a public court proceeding. Van Northern is an experienced probate attorney in Amarillo, Texas, who can help you through the process. Van will do all he can to move your heirs through the process as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.
You should plan for what happens before you pass away as well. You must prepare for situations like losing your mental faculties or experiencing a medical crisis that puts you on life support machines. Who would you want to make decisions for you in those circumstances? A proper estate plan includes powers of attorney that identify the people you trust to make decisions for you when you can’t make them yourself.
For most families, inheritance is no longer simply a matter of everything passing to the surviving spouse or the children in equal parts. Divorce, separation, remarriage, step-families, family businesses, and special needs situations add complexity that a qualified estates and trusts lawyer can help sort out for you.
A proper estate plan ensures that things go the way you want them to. It also provides the courts with clear guidance about your wishes, should your survivors and heirs fall into a dispute about distribution of your estate.
The benefits of hiring an estate planning attorney far outweigh any cost savings you think you’re getting by trying to do things yourself. Call Northern Law Firm in Amarillo, Texas, for help preparing your estate and trust documents. Enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing your affairs are in order.