Estate Planning Essentials:
Why You Need an Attorney by Your Side

You have spent most of your life planning for the future, and all that hard work has paid off, as you have done quite well to provide for your family. So what comes next after this? For your peace of mind, you will need to think about estate planning.

It can be pretty morbid to think about end-of-life planning. However, doing so should be a priority since a good estate plan protects your assets and ensures the bequeathment to the proper beneficiaries. Doing so also protects you and the people you love, so it is vital to have a professional guide you while creating an estate plan. Here are the estate planning essentials that you need to know and why you need an attorney by your side throughout the entire process.

What is Estate Planning?

Most people think that estate planning only involves making a will, but according to, it extends beyond the requirements with the assets and objects you have left behind. Estate planning also details your final instructions on health care decisions and your future care if you ever become incapacitated due to a health condition.

If you have minor children and pets, your estate plan can state who your appointed guardians are. You can also indicate the funds that you have set aside, as well as instructions on how to access them for the care of your loved ones.

Your estate plan may also include instructions for your funeral, name an executor and beneficiaries, as well as set up charitable donations to reduce estate taxes. For all these reasons, estate planning can and should be used by anyone, and not just those who are incredibly wealthy.

Why Should You Create an Estate Plan Now?

Some people may balk at creating an estate plan while still young, fit, and healthy. That is understandable since it can be uncomfortable to plan for death. However, if you do not plan now, there is the risk of dying without an estate plan or a will in place. After all, it is difficult to predict what the future may hold.

Not having an estate plan may also cause discord among your loved ones over essential matters, such as who receives which assets. Moreover, if you get incapacitated, you risk people making the wrong decisions on your health care and financial matters, so drafting an estate plan should be on your to-do list as early as now.

Why Should You Seek Help from a Lawyer?

Creating an effective estate plan can be confusing, especially if you need help figuring out where to start. If you have a complex estate, for instance, seeking help from a lawyer can be beneficial, especially if they are a licensed estate planning attorney. They can help you pinpoint which assets to include in your estate plan, identify your beneficiaries, advise you on dividing your property, and assist you in creating wills and trusts.

An estate planning attorney can also help you create detailed healthcare directives and plans for your long-term care. This plan is a crucial move to ensure that you can afford medical services and medications when you need them in your golden years. Planning correctly for senior healthcare also means you will not have to liquidate some of your assets or reduce your estate to pay for required care.

Apart from all these, an estate lawyer can help you through the tax planning process to reduce estate tax or death tax. Note that the burden of paying these taxes does not fall on you but on your heirs. If your loved ones are minors or if they are not earning a substantial income, this could mean that they will be unable to have access to the assets that you left for them. Enlisting the help of a professional on these matters ensures that your family can have what you have bequeathed to them.

Things to Prepare for Estate Planning

Once you have met with an estate planning attorney, prepare the following documents to create your estate plan. These may include statements of assets such as bank account statements, investment account statements, and pensions and retirement documentation.

You may also need to provide birth certificates, a prenuptial agreement (if applicable), guardianship and beneficiary designations, real estate deeds, automobile titles, and life insurance policies. You will also provide copies of documents for existing mortgages, loans, and credit card statements. Putting together all these may take time, but these documents could help your lawyer determine how to plan your estate.

Planning for end-of-life may be uncomfortable but requires prioritization for your and your loved ones’ sake. Consult a licensed estate planning attorney to walk you through the process to protect your legacy and ensure appropriate family care.