Many of us do not routinely deal with estate planning, which is probably for the best. It’s a messy and complicated business with a lot of regulations and fine print. That’s why specialized lawyers exist — to help do the work for you. Here are some common reasons people often hire estate lawyers:
- Planning and Writing a Will
Making your will may not be as easy as it seems. Many states actually require that you have this done by or with a professional estate lawyer, as even just one small misstep can completely void your intentions. Many people don’t like thinking about death, but making a will is one of the most important things you can do to secure your family’s future. Some 41% of Baby Boomers do not yet have a will, and around 71% of adults under age 34 don’t, either. Unfortunately, you never know what might happen — but you can at least control what happens after you’re gone with a good will.
- Power of Attorney
Power of attorney in healthcare terms means that you grant another person the power to make healthcare related decisions for you in the event that you are unable to do so yourself. About 38% of adults have a power of attorney, which can be valuable especially for unmarried people, since usually the spouse fills that role. An estate lawyer can help you draft a power of attorney to make sure you get the care you want if you’re ever unable to say so yourself.
- Probate and Trust Administration
On the other hand, if you are on the other end estate planning — dealing with the assets and debts someone has left behind for you, for example — then you will likely want an estate lawyer who’s also versed in probate law. You’ll need to validate a will, if any exists, choose an executor, deal with the estate taxes, identify heirs, and distribute anything accordingly. This can be a long and painful process, especially for family members. Don’t keep the burden to yourself; hire a professional to help ease the process.
Remember that you don’t have to do everything yourself. Hiring a lawyer can save you time, headaches, and even money by helping you get it right the first time through.
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