Estate planning is the legal procedure using which individuals can ensure that their healthcare and property wishes are honored after their death. It is also a handy tool to ensure that the loved ones are provided for in the absence of the individual. A comprehensive estate plan resolves important legal issues that arise after a person’s death. It answers the following legal queries:
Multiple legal procedures can ensure that the aforementioned issues and other inconsistencies that may arise are addressed and dealt with. Hiring an estate planning attorney is the best way to navigate numerous procedures and ensure that everything is accounted for.
Estate is more than just the property you own. In legal terms, the estate includes all the assets that an individual owns at the time of their death. These include:
Estate planning can benefit you in the following ways:
You can use the following tools for estate planning:
One of the most common estate planning tools used, Wills allow individuals to easily transfer property and other assets to the survivors while reducing the tax burden. There is no definite size or template to a will. The size and complexity of the will depend on the preferences of the testator – the person drafting the will. Typically, a will describes the assets or estate to be transferred, the division of estates, instructions about minor children, gifts to charity, and the formation of trusts. However, for a will to be considered valid, it must fulfill the state's legal requirements where it is being drafted. The basic requirements that are common to almost all states are:
A will that meets all the state requirements is considered valid and remains in force until another will supersedes them.
Trusts are an alternative to wills and serve to allow people to manage their properties when alive. This estate planning tool enables you to handle taxes and distribute money and property to trust beneficiaries. Creating trust is fairly simple. Typically, trusts are created when the owner of the property, also termed as the grantor, trustor, or settlor, transfers the legal ownership rights to the trustee, which can be a professional, an institution, or a family member to manage the property for the benefit of another person known as a beneficiary. Generally, the trustee receives compensation for managing the property. The trustee is responsible for acting in the beneficiary's best interests, which creates a fiduciary relationship between the trustee and the beneficiary. The trustor can also act as a trustee and retain the ownership rights of the property, but they are legally liable to work in the best interests of the beneficiary. However, any trust agreement can only come into effect when the trustor transfers the property to a trustee.
Unlike wills and trusts, living will do not deal with the transference of properties or assets. It is rather a directive to ensure they receive medical and health care according to their preferences when they are not in a position to let their demands be known. Living wills first became popular for opting out of being put onto artificial life support. But today, these can be used to demand medical treatments. The living will needs to be drafted in accordance with the formalities set by the state.
Here is why hiring an estate planning attorney is necessary:
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