Estate planning and related areas of the law are typically unfamiliar to the average person. This often means that people do not realize how an estate planning attorney can help them or when they need the assistance of one. To help make sure you get the guidance and assistance you need when you need it, our attorney, Justin Stivers, offers some details on how estate planning attorneys help – you whether you are looking to create an estate plan, deal with trust administration, or shepherd you through the probate process.
When An Estate Planning Attorney Can Help You
- Creating your initial estate plan. The most well-known way an estate planning attorney can help you is during the creation of your initial estate plan. Once that plan is in place, however, you will want to continue to nurture your relationship with your attorney throughout the course of your lifetime if for no other reason than because you will likely need to make important changes to your estate plan and it is best to have an attorney who knows you and your assets on your side
- Administering (probating) and estate. When someone dies, his or her estate must go through the legal process known as “probate” following the death. If the decedent executed a Last Will and Testament before death the individual named as Executor in the Will is responsible for overseeing the probate of the estate. If the decedent died intestate, someone would need to volunteer to oversee the administration. Either way, it can be a complex, and time-consuming job which is why most Executors turn to an estate planning lawyer for help.
- Contesting a Will. The loss of a loved one is never easy to accept; however, the grieving process can be worse if you believe that the Last Will and Testament submitted for probate is invalid. If you find yourself in such a position, an estate planning attorney can help you contest the Will.
- Legacy planning. Legacy planning takes estate planning one step further by weaving your philosophies, beliefs, and faith into your estate plan so that they too might be passed down to the next generation.
- Long-term care (Medicaid) planning. There is a very good chance that you will one day need long-term care (LTC) – and the odds increase dramatically the longer you live. For the average person, the cost of LTC can be prohibitive given the fact that neither Medicare nor basic healthcare insurance will cover LTC costs. Medicaid will cover LTC expenses if you qualify. An estate planning attorney can help ensure that you qualify through Medicaid planning tools and strategies.
- Planning for the possibility of incapacity. Incapacity can strike anyone at any age. If you become incapacitated, who will take over control of your assets and make medical decisions for you? If you want to be the one to decide, you need to plan for the possibility.
- Planning for a child with special needs. Any direct gift left to a child with special needs could jeopardize much-needed assistance from programs such as Medicaid and SSI. Creating a special needs trust, however, can protect the gift while still allowing your child to maintain eligibility for state and federal assistance programs.
- Administering a trust. If you suddenly find yourself faced with the prospect of administering a trust because the Settlor appointed you to be the Trustee, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed. The good news is that an estate planning attorney can help you fulfill your duties and responsibilities as a Trustee.
- Elder abuse and neglect. Deciding that nursing home care is the best option for an elderly parent (or another loved one) is not an easy decision to make. If you begin to suspect elderly abuse or neglect after your parent is settled it can be heartbreaking. The best thing to do at that point is to contact your estate planning attorney to decide how best to proceed.
- Petitioning for guardianship/conservatorship of an older loved one. At some point in your life, you may realize that a parent is no longer able to safely make decisions or handle his/her finances. At that point, it may be time to consider petitioning for guardianship. The decision and the subsequent legal process can be emotionally exhausting and time-consuming. To make it easier on you, ask your estate planning lawyer for help.
Contact Our Coral Gables Estate Planning Attorney
For more information or if you need help, please join us for an on-demand webinar presented by our estate planning attorney Justin Stivers. If you have additional questions or concerns about the estate planning process, please reach out to us by phone by calling (305) 456-3255 or use our contact page to get your questions answered.
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