Pin It

Reasons to Hire an Estate Planning Lawyer

Many people assume that drafting a will is sufficient for estate planning purposes. While that may be true for those who have modest assets and don’t mind their estate being settled in public, it may still be worthwhile to consult with an estate planning attorney. This may be true even if an individual already has a will or a living trust.

Estate Tax Laws Can Change

Changes in estate tax law could render a document useless or no longer representative of the testator’s wishes. Several years ago, Congress increased the federal estate tax exemption to $5 million, which was indexed for inflation. In 2015, that exemption is $5.43 million per person, and a married couple may enjoy portability. This means that they will enjoy a combined exemption of $10.86 million if they choose to do so. With an expanded exemption, it may no longer make sense to leave large gifts prior to death or make other moves specifically to avoid triggering an estate income tax bill for those under the amount.

Wills Can Be Challenged in Probate Court

A will can be challenged in court by a family member who feels as if they have been excluded from receiving an inheritance. Having an attorney create a will makes it more likely that it will be written in a manner that conforms to state law. Furthermore, an attorney will take steps to ensure that the testator is of sound mind and that the document signing is witnessed by others who are also of sound mind.

Estate Planning Is About More Than Passing Down Assets

A living trust may enable a parent to determine who their child’s guardian will be if he or she passes away while that child is still a minor. It may also provide health care waivers that make it possible for an individual to spell out how and when treatment should be rendered if he or she was mentally incapacitated. Taking care of such issues now may make it easier for others to follow an individual’s wishes without mental stress or infighting among family members.

Those who wish to create an estate plan or haven’t reviewed theirs lately may wish to hire an attorney. He or she may be able to help draw up plan documents or simply offer advice as to how to craft a will or trust to increase the odds that it does what the creator of that document wants it to do.

Be Sociable, Share!