What are the Different Services Provided by Estate Planning Lawyers?

ADVERTISEMENT

Whether you’re already working with an estate planning lawyer or you just want to learn more about the legal services they provide, you may be wondering about what estate planning lawyers actually do and how their services can benefit you. If so, then keep reading, because this article will discuss some of the most common services provided by estate planning lawyers, including wills, trusts, probate administration, health care directives, and litigation services. So let’s get started!

Wills – Basic Information

A will is a legal document that instructs how your assets should be distributed after you die. Wills can be created without an attorney, but it’s important to discuss any specifics with a lawyer. In addition to instructions on how assets are allocated, will provide information on guardianship of minor children and pets. If you’re not married, a will also give information on funeral arrangements and organ donation.

A Living Trust – Basic Information

A living trust is a legal document, created during your lifetime, that helps transfer property to your beneficiaries upon your death. The trust allows you to own real estate and other assets in your name alone (for example, John Doe and Jane Doe as trustees of John Doe Living Trust), but have them administered for you during life and given to others at death according to terms set forth in a contract. A trustee is chosen to manage trust assets. A trustee may be an individual or an institution such as a bank or trust company.

Probate Attorney – Will Contests

A will contest is a lawsuit that challenges an individual’s last will and testament, also known as a testamentary trust. If someone believes that their loved one did not have proper mental capacity at death, or if they believe there was coercion involved in creating a will, they may wish to contest it. Another common reason for a will contest is if an individual believes that a different beneficiary should be named.

Medicaid Asset Protection Trusts

In certain states, including Florida, Oregon, and Michigan, using Medicaid Asset Protection Trusts (MAPs) is an excellent estate planning tool for those with significant assets. A MAP is a special type of irrevocable trust that allows individuals to put their money in such a way that it will not be counted as part of their estate at death.

ADVERTISEMENT

Medi-Cal Planning and Applications

Medi-Cal, or Medicaid, is California’s medical insurance program for people with low incomes. However, Medi-Cal serves a much wider scope of people than just low-income residents; it also covers certain individuals over 65 years old, and certain disabled individuals under 65 years old. If you have been denied coverage through Medicare but still qualify for Medi-Cal, you should contact an estate planning lawyer to help file your paperwork and facilitate your applications.

Trust Administration, Succession, and Tax Preparation

When an estate is administered, it means that a trusted individual is put in charge of handling all of its affairs. After a person passes away, their estate may be subjected to federal and state taxes; therefore, many individuals prefer to hire an estate planning lawyer for tax preparation purposes.

Business Succession Strategies

If you’re an entrepreneur or business owner, it may be time to think about your succession strategy. A succession plan allows you to plan for a future in which you’re no longer at the helm of your company, and it protects your employees, customers, and others involved with your company—even those who may not yet know they need protection. If a family member is likely to inherit your business or is already involved in its operations, make sure that person is protected from both external and internal threats.