An estate planning attorney is a person who provides legal advice and services to clients who need help in creating a will to manage and distribute their assets after they have passed away. The attorney will help you decide which assets should be part of your estate and then draft the necessary documents to make this happen.
This is where most people make their first mistake. After a loved one’s death, people can quickly become overwhelmed by all of the decisions that need consideration. At such a time, people often become too hasty in their actions and sign documents that could end up hurting their loved ones.
An attorney’s job is to make sure that your intentions concede after you have passed away, so you need to be sure that your documents are in order. That is why it is essential for you to always consult with an attorney before you make any critical decisions, especially after the death of a loved one or a family member. Let’s explore further how to ensure that your assets are managed well after your death:
1. Hire an attorney to draft your will:
If you make a will without consulting an attorney, there is no guarantee that it will be valid in court. Your loved ones may have to deal with extra-legal costs that could have been avoided if you had just hired an attorney to make sure that your will is in order.
2. Inform everyone involved of your wishes:
After you make a will, make sure that everyone involved knows your wishes. For instance, if you have children from a previous marriage, make sure that your ex-spouse is aware of it. If you make plans for someone without telling them, the results could be disastrous.
3. Double check that all assets are listed correctly:
If you make a faulty will, there is no guarantee that your assets will be in good hands after your death. You must make a list of all assets and their value, life insurance policies, bank accounts and assets held in trust, and ensure that any tax identification numbers are correct. Just a few mistakes make it challenging to manage assets after death.
4. Keep your estate plan and will up-to-date:
When you make your will, make sure that it is up-to-date. If you make any changes to an asset’s value, make sure that you redo your will. Every asset will have a changing value throughout time. If you make any changes to an existing plan, make sure that you consult a lawyer to make sure that it is in order.
5. Identify your assets correctly:
Some assets are easy to identify, but others might make it difficult for you to make an inventory if you are unaware of them. For instance, if you make a plan without mentioning the owner of some valuable items, there is no guarantee that they will be included in the will. That is why you need to inventory all tangible and intangible assets.
6. Always consult with an estate planning attorney:
When you make a will, make sure that you make it clear that an attorney should handle everything. If you make any mistakes, make sure that your family members know that they should not make any decisions without an attorney’s assistance. That is because, in most states, if your family members make a decision that goes against your wishes, it could be seen as invalid and make it difficult for them to make legal claims on your assets. The best course of action is to ensure that your family members make all decisions with the guidance of an attorney.
7. Make sure everyone involved knows about the process:
Your loved ones must make an effort to learn how an estate plan works, so make sure that they are well-aware of the laws in your state. The better informed they are, the easier it will be for them to make decisions. It is also a good idea for you to make an inventory of all bank accounts and make a list of any debts owed. That way, it is easier for them to make claims on assets that you make part of the estate plan.
8. Make sure the inventory list is updated:
When you make a will, ensure that everyone involved keeps track of any changes to the properties’ value or contents through an inventory. It is also a good idea for you to make sure that your family knows who the executor of the will is, so they know who to make claims with if there are any issues. It is vital that your family knows who the executor of the will is, so they can correctly make claims on your assets. The same is true for an attorney.
Take, a painting for instance. Depending on who manages your assets, a collectible art piece might be discarded by someone after your death. If you make a list of all belongings and have an inventory of each one, there is no guarantee that this will happen.
9. Leave behind written instructions for your executor:
If you make a will, make sure that it is clear which property should go where and make sure that the person responsible for making sure that your plans are carried out is aware of what needs to be done. It is also a great idea for you to ensure that your executor has access to all bank accounts so they know where they can make claims.
10. Keep up-to-date on tax laws:
When you make a will, make sure that you clarify how any assets are taxed. If the executor of the will is not aware of what needs to happen with your assets after death, make sure they know to consult with an attorney who specializes in tax law.
This is important for individuals who understand their assets and make a list before making their will. It is always better to make a list beforehand to ensure that all necessary details are included. While you make your will, make sure that you discuss it with an attorney so they can make sure that you have not misjudged anything.