An estate planning attorney is an integral part of developing end-of-life strategies. Lawyers who specialize in this field help individuals execute a last will and testament, durable power of attorney, healthcare proxies, and revocable or irrevocable trusts.If you wish to learn more about this, visit Chandler Estate Planning Lawyer.
Hiring an estate planning attorney is necessary when individuals want to keep inheritance assets out of probate. Probate is a legal requirement in all 50 states and is used to validate wills, determine rightful heirs, settle outstanding debts, and distribute inheritance property to designated beneficiaries.
Numerous strategies exist to avoid probate. The most common include establishing irrevocable life insurance trusts, living trusts, and designation of transfer on death and payable on death beneficiaries.
On average, the probate process takes six to nine months to settle. When decedents die intestate (without a will) probate usually takes between nine months to one year to complete. Much depends on the estate value, court caseload, and family dynamics.
Working with estate planning lawyers is particularly important when family strife exists. Sadly, death can bring out the worst in people. Anger, greed and envy can drive heirs who feel slighted to contest the will and prolong probate for months or years.
If heirs contest the Will, the estate is responsible for defense legal fees. If the judge rules in favor of the Plaintiff, the estate is oftentimes responsible for restitution of their legal fees as well. This can create a heavy financial burden and potentially bankrupt the estate.
Retaining the services of a qualified estate planning attorney can lessen the potential for family feuds and contesting the will. Often, decedents appoint a family member to the position of estate administrator. This can place a target on their back if siblings don’t agree with the decision. Having a neutral third party manage the estate can squelch potential eruptions and expedite the probate process.
At minimum, estate planning should include a Last Will and Testament, Power of Attorney, and Healthcare Proxy. Guardianship for minor children is established through the last will. Individuals with assets valued over $100,000 should consider establishing a trust.
Multiple types of trusts exist and each offers advantages and disadvantages. Estate planners can explain which type of trust will best suit each individual’s needs. It is best to engage in estate planning while in good health. Individuals who procrastinate until they are diagnosed with terminal illness or transferred to a nursing home run the risk of heirs contesting the Will. Heirs can claim the decedent was not of sound mind because of their illness.
Keystone Law Firm
2701 W. Queen Creek Rd. #3, Chandler, AZ 85248