People often feel they don’t need to hire an estate attorney and try to handle matters on their own. While it can be tempting to go it alone, it’s advisable to consider the ramifications if estate planning documents aren’t properly executed.
The cost to hire an estate attorney is far less than the cost to settle probated estates. Furthermore, lawyers can advise of strategies to protect assets during your lifetime. For instance, people can prepare power of attorney forms to authorize another person to handle personal, financial, business, or medical affairs if they are unable to do so.
Numerous life events impact estate planning. Things such as having children, owning a family business, or owning real estate in another state require different types of strategies.
Parents and guardians will want to look out for minor aged children and make arrangements for their care. Wills are used to establish legal guardianship. Without one, children under 18 are placed with a state guardian until court proceedings are held.
Relatives have to hire a family law attorney and appear in court to request guardianship. While judges prefer to keep children with families there is no guarantee that guardianship will be awarded.
Along with designating legal guardians, parents can also make arrangements for their children’s future by setting up a trust fund. Children’s trusts are managed by a Trustee who must comply with directives regarding how money and assets will be distributed.
Protecting a small or family owned business is essential to ensure operations can continue in the event of incapacity or death. Owners will want to talk to their lawyer about business succession strategies to safeguard assets and designate Successors who can take over.
Small enterprises can be crushed when owners fail to plan ahead. Relatives are often left to pick up the pieces, which results in lengthy and costly legal expenses. Taking time to establish succession plans can preserve the company and allow it to continue in the owner’s absence.
Many people are unaware that if they own real estate in another state their estate could be subject to multiple probate processes. Probate is necessary to reconcile estates that are not protected by a trust.
The duration of probate varies by state, but on average takes a minimum of six months to complete. In California, probate can extend for a few years due to the backlog of cases. Although you won’t be here to deal with the stresses caused by prolonged probate there’s no reason to make relatives endure the process either.
A simple solution is to hire an estate attorney and devise a life plan. Not only can estate planning lawyers make the process easier, they can also review retirement plans to ensure investments are protected.
Everyone can benefit from establishing estate planning strategies. Whether you need a basic Will or require revocable or irrevocable trusts or business succession, the experienced team of legal professionals at Craton and Switzer is here to help.
We are committed to providing the most appropriate estate plans for each client’s personal lifestyle needs. Call us today at 562-628-5533 to schedule an estate planning consultation.
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