A wills attorney will usually go over the existing will documents to try to figure out what the deceased person wanted. If this is difficult, the court may occasionally allow the attorney to review additional evidence related to the will property (such as receipts, previous gifts, etc.). In this blog post, we will discuss the roles of a living wills attorney and an estate planning attorney and why you should hire one.
What Is a Wills Attorney
A wills attorney deals with a variety of issues concerning wills and will documents. Wills are legal documents that specify how a person’s property should be distributed after death. As a result, wills are an important part of estate planning. The will may refer to specific items of property or it may refer to all of the person’s belongings, monetary assets, properties, and non-tangible interests.
Wills must meet certain requirements in order to be legally enforceable. As a result, one of the primary functions of a wills attorney is to review a will document to ensure that it is valid under state law. Will lawyers also handle will disputes and other related issues such as trust documents.
Estate and Wills Attorney
Is it possible to plan your estate on your own? Is it better to work with seasoned wills, trusts, and estate attorneys? This is one of the most common inquiries. Estate planning can be done on a do-it-yourself basis at the most basic level. Finding and completing the necessary forms and documentation is simple.
Estate and wills involving the absence of a skilled attorney, on the other hand, can have drawbacks. We’ll go over a few of the reasons why you might be better off working with a wills, trusts, and estates attorney and their functions in this session.
Roles of a Wills Attorney
There is no legal requirement that a will be drafted by an attorney, and some people may be reluctant to hire a lawyer to draft a will. People can use a lawyer to draft a will, use a software product or will form, or write their wishes entirely on their own. Some lawyers provide educational classes for people who want to draft their own wills.
A will may be part of an estate planning package that includes other instruments, such as a living trust, when obtained from a lawyer. A lawyer-drafted will should avoid technical errors that a layperson might make, which could potentially invalidate part or all of a will. While wills prepared by lawyers may appear to be similar, lawyers can tailor the language of wills to meet the needs of specific clients.
Roles of Estate Attorney
If you’ve ever heard the phrase “get your affairs in order,” an estate planning attorney does exactly that. “Planning” is the keyword here. Estate planning attorneys are available to assist you in creating a plan for your assets and estate in the event of your death. A good estate planning attorney will be familiar with all relevant state laws, ensuring that your estate plan is not challenged or invalidated in probate court.
One of the most obvious things estate planning attorneys do is help you draft your will. Your attorney can advise you on how to divide your estate and assets among your chosen beneficiaries, as well as when they will receive what you have left them. They can also assist your beneficiaries in minimizing or avoiding estate taxes after your death.
Estate planning attorneys can also assist you in creating a living will in the event that you become incapacitated. A living wills give the person you’ve designated as your power of attorney and your healthcare provider instructions on what to do if you become seriously ill. Expressing your wishes in a living wills help your family avoid deeply painful arguments about whether to keep you on life support if you are close to death, or whether to resuscitate you in an emergency.
Why Work With a Wills and Estates Attorney?
#1. An attorney can assist you in determining your estate planning requirements.
Estate planning is more complicated than it is often portrayed to be. It’s not just about figuring out who gets what when you die! Yes, that’s a factor, but consider this: how will you ensure that your healthcare wishes are carried out if you become incapacitated and unable to speak for yourself? A knowledgeable will attorney can assist you in thinking through these and other critical issues.
#2. A will and trust attorney can help you reduce your tax burden.
Developing a strategy to minimize the taxes you owe is an often-overlooked aspect of estate planning. This enables you to transfer the entire value of your estate to your designated beneficiaries. Often, minimizing taxes necessitates the establishment of both a trust and a will. This is an area where do-it-yourself estate planning may fall short. A professional can provide valuable knowledge.
#3. An attorney can assist you in locating a trustee.
If you do decide to create a trust, be sure to choose the best, most qualified, and most responsible person to serve as trustee. Your attorney can assist you in determining who that person is, as well as providing the appropriate level of “trustee training” to the chosen individual. Your attorney may also be able to act as a trustee for you or advise you on how to manage your estate assets.
#4. A living wills attorney can help you with end-of-life planning.
Let’s go back to our earlier point about what would happen if you become incapacitated. That is something that everyone should consider during the estate planning process. There are several documents that can be useful in this situation, such as an advance healthcare directive, power of attorney, or living will. Make sure to seek the counsel of an experienced living wills attorney!
#5. A lawyer can provide advice on probate matters.
How do you keep your estate’s contents private? And how do you reduce the amount of work your beneficiaries have to do? Both questions have the same answer: avoid the probate process. Your lawyer can assist you with this.
#6. Your attorney can assist you in keeping your estate plan up to date.
There are several reasons why you might want to revise or amend your estate plan. What if you get divorced, for example? What happens if you remarry? Also, what happens if you adopt a child? An estate planning attorney can help you update your estate plan as needed.
Living Wills Attorney
Working alongside a professional can be beneficial when engaging in estate planning activities. This is especially true in the case of living trusts. In this post, we’ll go over just a few of the reasons why it’s worthwhile to hire a living wills attorney.
Why Work with a Living Wills Attorney
#1. An estate planning attorney can assist you in determining the best solutions for achieving your estate planning objectives.
There are no one-size-fits-all solutions when it comes to estate planning. Everyone has their own set of goals and priorities, which may or may not include a will and trust or other types of estate planning documentation. Our attorneys can consult with you and point you in the right direction if you need a living will, trust, power of attorney, or some combination of the above.
#2. An estate planning attorney can assist you in creating living wills.
The work involved in establishing trust is far more complex than simply writing a will. A living trust and wills attorney can help you set up your trust, ensure it is legally compliant, fund it, and advise you on the best strategies to reduce your tax burden.
This is heavy lifting that you may not want to do yourself, especially since even minor mistakes can render your estate plan null and void. Also, it is preferable to delegate this task to a team of trusted legal professionals.
#3. Lawyers who specialize in living trusts and wills can assist you in selecting a trustee.
When you make a living will, you must appoint someone to serve as the trustee; essentially, this is the person you’re appointing to monitor and manage the trust’s funds.
It goes without saying that it should be someone trustworthy and accountable… But who is it? An attorney can advise you on the specific responsibilities of a trustee, suggest some good options, and, in some cases, act as the trustee on your behalf. This is also a critical step in the estate planning process that should not be overlooked.
#4. Your lawyer can explain the various types of living wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and other documents.
Should you create a revocable or irrevocable living trust? Is it better to set up a financial power of attorney? Consider executing a healthcare power of attorney. There are a number of questions you’ll need to consider as you consider your estate planning options. Also, it is critical to have a trusted legal ally who can provide strategic guidance. This is where a living wills attorney can come in handy.
#5. A living trust and wills attorney can assist you in keeping your estate plan up to date.
Finally, it’s never a good idea to “set it and forget it” when it comes to estate planning. Most experts advise reviewing your plan once a year and revising it after any major life changes.
A living wills attorney can assist you in staying on top of this and provide a painless way for you to keep your estate plans completely aligned with your current desires.
What Is the Difference Between a Will and a Living Trust?
As you’ve read, a will can achieve the distribution of your assets and the care of your children that you desire, but it must go through probate court just like intestate cases, though it is primarily a process of paying taxes and creditors, selling assets (if necessary), and then finalizing the distribution.
A living trust, on the other hand, avoids probate court. After the trust is established, there are no court or attorney fees. Your property can be transferred to your designated beneficiaries immediately and directly. Because a testamentary trust is established after a person’s death, it must still go through probate, unlike a living trust.
With a trust, you appoint a trustee to manage your assets, who can be you during your lifetime. The trustee then takes over to administer your assets as you have specified if you become incapacitated or die (they must follow your instructions). Furthermore, when a couple owns assets together, they frequently serve as co-trustees. In the absence of a trust, a trusted relative, friend, or professional can be named trustee.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I Lose Control of My Living Will If I Appoint a Proxy?
While you have the ability or capacity to make decisions, you will not lose control of your living will. If you become incapacitated, the proxy has the legal authority to act on your behalf, including making healthcare decisions.
What Is the Difference Between a Living Will and a Last Will and Testament?
A living will specifies the type of medical treatment that will be provided to a person who is unable to make those decisions for themselves. The living will carry out a person’s expressed wishes regarding medical care if they become unable to manage their own care.
What Is a Bank’s Living Will?
A bank’s “living will” is a legal document filed annually by businesses that specify how the company will be liquidated in the event of insolvency. Banks with at least $50 billion in assets are required by regulators to file a living will.
What are Executors of a Will?
Executors are the individuals named in your Will to carry out your wishes after your death. They will be in charge of all aspects of sorting out your affairs after you’ve died, such as notifying people of your death, arranging your funeral, dealing with any tax bills, paying debt, compiling information about your assets and liabilities, and distributing your estate to your chosen beneficiaries.