Many people start to think about how they want their property and assets to be distributed after they die. If you are growing older and want to begin planning your estate, the professionals at Elder Care Direction can help you to understand the different types of estate planning documents so you can figure out what you need. We can also refer you for additional help from an experienced estate planning lawyer. Here is what you need to know about estate planning lawyers.
What is an estate planning attorney?
An estate planning lawyer is a type of attorney who focuses his or her practice on helping people to prepare for the end of their lives. Estate planning can include planning for events that could occur before you die as well as those that might occur after you die.
When you hire an estate planning lawyer, there will be three primary steps that you will go through. On average, an estate planning attorney may charge around $3,000 for his or her services.
Three steps of estate planning
During the first step, your lawyer will want to learn more about your situation. You will start with a consultation at the attorney’s law office and might be asked to fill out a questionnaire. Attorneys use consultations and questionnaires to help them to answer several of the following key questions:
- What is the makeup of your family?
- Do you have minor children or children with special needs?
- What property do you own?
- What types of financial assets do you own?
- Do you own real estate?
- Is your net worth high enough that the estate tax might come into play?
- Who do you want to receive your property?
- What types of medical treatment do you want to have if you become incapacitated?
- Who do you want to make decisions for you if you become incapacitated?
- Who do you want to serve as your executor?
The second step of estate planning is the drafting of your documents. After your lawyer has obtained the information that he or she needs, he or she will draft your documents.
The primary types of estate planning documents include the following:
- Living wills
- Durable powers of attorney
- Revocable living trusts
The final step of estate planning occurs when your documents are executed according to the laws in your state. Your lawyer might have his or her staff members to witness the signatures and to sign and notarize the documents after you have signed them. After your documents have been executed, you will need to store them in a safe place. The place where you keep them should be accessible to your close family members after you die. If your family members can’t find your documents, they will not go into effect.
After your estate planning process, you will likely be given some instructions that tell you how to add beneficiaries to your bank accounts. While the average cost of estate planning is around $3,000, this amount can vary based on your situation.
Do you need to hire a lawyer?
Today, there are many computer programs for estate planning. If your situation is not overly complex, you might be able to write your estate plan. However, you must be careful to make certain that your documents are prepared in a way that complies with the laws in your state. If your situation is fairly complex, it may be a better idea for you to retain an estate planning lawyer.
If you have children with special needs, it is a good idea for you to retain an estate-planning lawyer. An attorney can help you to ensure that your children will be cared for after you have passed away. If you have a net worth of more than $11 million, it is also a good idea for you to speak to a lawyer. An attorney can work with a financial advisor to minimize the tax burden for your loved ones.
If you have any financial concerns related to a divorce or expect that you might get divorced, a lawyer who understands family law and estate planning can help you. Finally, if you are growing older and rely on government benefits to meet your financial and medical needs or want to plan for that situation in the future, you should talk to an estate planning lawyer who also practices in elder law.
Contact Elder Care Direction today
The professionals at Elder Care Direction help people to understand the many different facets of growing older. We can help you to save money on legal fees by helping you with preliminary paperwork. We can then provide you with some referrals to our partner attorneys for further assistance. Contact us today by filling out our contact form.