Wills and trusts may seem like just documents to some, but they are the foundation of protecting your legacy. Estate planning can feel overwhelming, especially when terms like “wills” and “trusts” get thrown around. You know you want to ensure your loved ones are taken care of after you’re gone, but navigating these legal tools can be confusing.

That’s where an estate planning attorney comes in. Wills and trusts drafted by an estate planning attorney will be crafted to protect you specifically, wherever you are in life. We act as your guide, helping you understand the differences between wills and trusts, and how they can work together to create a comprehensive estate plan.

Wills and Trusts and How an Estate Planning Attorney Helps…

What is a Will?

A will is a legal document that outlines your wishes for how your assets will be distributed after your death. It names an executor, the person responsible for carrying out the instructions in your will. This can include anything from property and bank accounts to investments and personal belongings.

Here are some key things to know about wills:

  • Simple and Direct: Wills are generally easier and cheaper to create than trusts.
  • Probate Process: Assets distributed through a will go through probate, a court process that can be time-consuming and public.
  • Limited Control After Death: A will only comes into effect after your passing. It doesn’t offer any control over your assets if you become incapacitated during your lifetime.

What is a Trust?

A trust is a legal arrangement where you transfer ownership of your assets (like money or property) to a trustee. The trustee then manages the assets according to your instructions, for the benefit of the beneficiaries you designate.

There are many different types of trusts, each serving a specific purpose. Here are two common types:

  • Revocable Living Trust: You can retain control over the assets in the trust during your lifetime, and you can even be the trustee yourself. This type of trust avoids probate, ensuring a smoother and more private distribution of assets to your beneficiaries.
  • Irrevocable Trust: Once assets are placed in an irrevocable trust, you generally give up control of them. However, irrevocable trusts can offer tax advantages and protect assets from creditors.

How Does an Estate Planning Attorney Help?

An estate planning attorney can help you decide whether a will, trust, or a combination of both is right for you. We consider your unique circumstances, including your assets, family dynamics, and goals for your estate. Here’s what we can do:

  • Inventory Your Assets: We’ll work with you to identify and value all your assets, from real estate to investments.
  • Identify Beneficiaries: We’ll help you determine who you want to inherit your assets, and in what proportions.
  • Draft and Review Documents: We’ll ensure your will and trust documents are legally sound and accurately reflect your wishes.
  • Minimize Taxes: We can explore strategies to minimize estate taxes and maximize what your beneficiaries receive.
  • Plan for Incapacity: We can help you create documents like a power of attorney, which allows someone you trust to make financial decisions for you if you’re unable to do so yourself.

The Benefits of Working With an Attorney

While there are online templates available for wills and trusts, these can have legal loopholes and may not consider your specific situation. An estate planning attorney offers significant advantages:

  • Peace of Mind: Knowing your estate plan is legally sound and reflects your wishes can provide immense peace of mind for you and your loved ones.
  • Avoiding Disputes: A well-crafted estate plan can help minimize the risk of disagreements and legal challenges among your beneficiaries.
  • Tax Planning Opportunities: We can help you explore strategies to reduce your estate’s tax burden.
  • Future-Proofing Your Plan: Your life circumstances may change over time. We can help you review and update your estate plan as needed.

Next Steps

Estate planning doesn’t have to be complicated. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation with an experienced estate planning attorney. We’ll answer your questions, explain your options, and guide you through the process of creating a plan that protects your legacy and ensures your wishes are carried out.

Disclaimer: This article is intended to serve as a general summary of the issues outlined therein. While this article may include general guidance, it is not intended as, nor is a substitute for, qualified legal advice. Your review or receipt of this article by Lexern Law Offices, Ltd. (the “LLG”) or any of its attorneys does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the LLG. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors of the article and does not reflect the opinion of the LLG.

The post Wills and Trusts: How an Estate Planning Attorney Can Help appeared first on Lexern Law Group.

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Mr. Feldman believes that communication is the key to any successful relationship with his clients. Encouraging open communication and being easily available to answer clients’ questions has allowed him to build long-term partnerships and trust with his clients. Importantly, Mr. Feldman spends significant…

Mr. Feldman believes that communication is the key to any successful relationship with his clients. Encouraging open communication and being easily available to answer clients’ questions has allowed him to build long-term partnerships and trust with his clients. Importantly, Mr. Feldman spends significant time and effort educating his clients on estate planning options and various business opportunities and associated risks, encouraging them to take a proactive approach to their future and the preservation of their legacies.

Mr. Feldman has been providing professional services to sophisticated clients at some of the largest accounting and law firms and through Lexern Law Group, which he founded in 2010. Mr. Feldman and his wife, Irina, have been married for over seventeen years and have four children. In his free time, Mr. Feldman enjoys traveling, practicing martial arts, and riding his motorcycle.