Friday, February 8, 2013

Planning an Estate: Why You Need a Lawyer

You never want to go it on your own when planning an estate. Much like you would see a doctor when you are sick, a mechanic to fix your car or a vet to heal your pet, estate planning requires the due diligence and tenure of an experienced and vetted professional. A paralegal simply won’t cut it. And going it alone is ill advised. Even attorneys do not plan their own estates, as the old time saying rings true here: “A lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client.” If you are looking to protect your assets and your wealth after you are gone from this earth with proper estate planning and asset protection in place, here is why you want a lawyer.

1.      Properly drafted documents. Estate planning is a meticulous process. It requires a fine toothed comb and a ton of experience to properly implement. Poorly planned estates can run amuck of a judge in probate court, and hang there in limbo for years as a result.
2.      Tax liability. Estate taxes are some of the highest taxes that you will pay. They feed the federal pot and probably help fund the paving of more highways each year than you can imagine. With an estate planning attorney on your side, you can minimize tax liability by appropriately structuring your estate.
3.      Your will, your way. Your estate will be complex. You should be able to have your cake and eat it, too; even if you can’t take it all with you. With proper estate planning, you can allocate how your estate is divided. It is your estate, and when properly planned, it’s your call.
4.      Avoiding will contestation. With an estate planning attorney on your side, you can avoid the dreaded estate contestation. An expertly written will is ironclad in a court of law. No matter who contests it, it’s going to be exacted to your standards, even if you are gone.
5.      Peace of mind. Knowing that your estate is well planned and that your wealth is safeguarded affords you peace of mind knowing that you will leave this earth with your legacy intact.

Learn more estate planning and asset protection tips by Joe B. Garza

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