Why You Need An Estate Planning Attorney
To the average person, Estate Planning may conjure up visions of millionaires with extensive assets to protect upon their death.
However, that is not always the case. Most people who have retirement savings and property are in need of estate planning and asset protection in order to preserve assets for heirs. A simple last will and testament frequently is not enough to ensure that one’s assets will be readily available to distribute to beneficiaries.
One of the most common reasons for seeking the services of an estate planning attorney is to avoid probate. One of the drawbacks of a regular will is the cost of probating it or passing it through the courts. While many people don’t know exactly what probate is, they do know it is cumbersome and time-consuming and something to be avoided.
Probate is the court-supervised process of authenticating a last will and testament, if the deceased made one. If there is no will, the heirs of the deceased person are formally determined. In either case, the probate process includes locating and determining the value of the decedent’s assets, paying his final bills and taxes, then distributing the remainder of the estate to his rightful heirs or beneficiaries.
In probate, there are court fees and other costs to be paid out of the estate before the assets are paid out. These fees can range upwards of five percent of the estate or more.
While there are other reasons to establish an estate plan with an estate planning attorney, avoiding probate is often the number one reason.
Through the most basic estate planning, it is possible in most cases to eliminate entirely the need for probate.