Wills and Estate Planning: Talking to a Lawyer

Wills and estate planning are topics that every adult needs to address, but it’s not always easy to do. In addition to facing the reality that death is absolute, many people simply don’t know how to get started. Most people with little knowledge about wills and estate planning generally come to see a lawyer with just one idea: they want to make sure that their spouse, children, or others they care about are taken care of when they die.

Won’t a Simple Will Cover This?

If you don’t own substantial assets, you may be wondering why there needs to be much more of a conversation related to what happens to them. You just want them to be available for your beneficiary. To some degree, a simple will can do that. However, depending on what makes up your estate and the future, relying only on a simple will could also create two distinct issues:

  1. If your assets are given to the beneficiary immediately upon your death, there will be a second round of death taxes that must be paid on those assets when the beneficiary passes away in the future. Consider whether that would be fair (or affordable) to your beneficiary.
  2. If your named beneficiary is elderly or disabled, you may need some sort of manager for the assets in the future. Even if your named beneficiary is healthy now, an accident or illness could cause them to become disabled and unable to handle their own affairs.

A Good Estate Planning Lawyer Can Help You Avoid Future Problems

There’s no way to 100% plan for every possible contingency that the future holds. Yet, based on specific information about your assets and desires, a good estate planning lawyer can help you avoid those two main issues as well as craft an estate plan that best fits your needs.

When discussing wills and estate planning with a lawyer, you should also ask whether a trust is a good idea for your assets. A trust can help avoid some of the taxes levied on the estate as well as allow for an administrator to control the assets to support the beneficiary if needed because of an unexpected incapacity.

A trust is also a good option if you’re married. It’s very common that someone wants to leave all of their assets to their spouse. Yet, this can cause an issue with taxes. It’s important to use the right kind of trust to help minimize taxes. Your lawyer can also explain how the marital deduction works and how you can use it.

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