No one wants to think about dying, but it is an unavoidable part of the cycle of life. When facing death or coping with a degenerative illness, most people want to be able to put their affairs in order with as little stress as possible. An estate planning lawyer can help to make the necessary arrangements.
What Does an Estate Planning Lawyer Do?
Estate planning lawyers, as the name suggests, help clients to manage their estates and make plans for what happens on their death or mental disability. With the help of an estate planning lawyer, anyone who is expecting to die soon or suffer a breakdown of their mental faculties can ensure that their affairs are in order and that they are happy with the arrangements in place for when they can no longer control their affairs themselves.
Attorneys who work in estate planning will usually have a wide-ranging skillset from which to draw. For example, in order to properly advise clients on how to make plans for their estate, an estate planning attorney needs to be able to navigate their client through the murky waters of estate taxes, as well as being able to draft documents such as living trusts. They will also be able to offer some degree of financial advice to help clients decide the best way of dividing up their assets between their beneficiaries.
Finally, an estate lawyer can help with preparing a relative or close friend for taking over a power of attorney if or when they are no longer able to make important decisions on their own. Assigning the power of attorney to someone that can be trusted is vital for providing some much-needed peace of mind. This is especial true if the inexorable slide into dementia or another degenerative illness lies in the near future.
Look for a Specialist
Many attorneys will possess some knowledge relevant to estate planning, but it is only a dedicated estate planning attorney that will bring all of this knowledge together and have the experience to apply that knowledge appropriately. The first thing to look for in an estate planning attorney is a specialty in this particular area of law.
Meet Them Beforehand and Arrange a Consultation
A good estate planning attorney will help the client navigate one of the most emotionally difficult periods of their life. It is well-known that almost everyone facing death or a degenerative neurological disease, will be feeling vulnerable. This is a difficult thing to go through and the need to partner with a lawyer who is sensitive, can be trusted and is easy to talk to is an important comforting step.
It is highly recommended to approach any potential attorneys and ask if they will offer a free initial consultation. Most lawyers will offer a free consultation, during which they will assess the merits of the case and give an indication of how exactly they can help.
An estate plan may be relatively expensive, but it is well worth it. A lot of money can be saved by drawing up a will and relying on that document, along with verbal or written agreements. However, only an estate planning lawyer can walk the client through the tax side of things, as well as ensuring that all of the documentation is in place to execute the will and ensure that power of attorney is vested in the right person.