When it comes to estate planning most people think of a will – an iron-clad document listing all assets and how they will be distributed after your death. That is partially true. A validly drawn and signed will is one of the main tools in estate planning to ensure that your wishes are carried out. However, estate planning has many more components. It is a comprehensive plan that
includes documents effective both during and after your lifetime. As one may impact the other, it takes an experienced estate planning attorney to suggest the various planning tools right for you and your financial situation and wishes.
What Estate Planning Attorneys Do?
- Create Wills
- Help clients decide how to divide assets
- Advise which documents ensure that your wishes are carried out.
- Help to create personal documents to protect assets and distribution wishes should clients become sick or incapacitated
- Craft binding legal documents, including durable financial and medical Powers of Attorney
- Maintain the personal and financial integrity of estates
- Acts on a client’s behalf to handle disputes, including challenges to Wills
- Guides an executor or agent with Power of Attorney through the estate probate process
- Avoids probate court when possible
Estate Planning attorneys have a firm working knowledge of state and federal laws that affect how your estate is inventoried, valued, dispersed, and taxed after your death. Suggestions include ways to reduce and even avoid estate tax where possible.
Trusts are documents drawn up by estate attorneys that protect assets during your lifetime in the event you become incapacitated. Irrevocable trusts benefit your beneficiaries’ inheritance after your death by protecting assets from creditors and lawsuits. If drawn up properly, they also
reduce and even avoid inheritance and estate taxes.
An Estate attorney is invaluable in cutting through legal red tape should a will be contested. Such suits can quickly drain the estate’s assets and leave both beneficiaries and the contestants emotionally and financially drained.
What Does Estate Planning Cost?
Attorney fees are often a concern when it comes to estate planning. Most attorneys work with clients toward agreeable fee terms depending upon what is expected. Attorneys may charge a flat fee for preparing various documents such as wills, powers of attorney, and trusts. Beyond that, fees for overseeing assets and for acting as your agent in handling disputes are separate and customarily billed hourly.
“Do It Yourself” Estate Planning
You can try to do your estate planning. Dozens of online legal sites crop up like weeds almost daily. Just remember, failure to prepare or execute documents properly, or to properly fund trusts or retitle assets can destroy the best estate plan. When it comes to planning, one size does not fit all.
Contact Our Offices Today!
Using the full panoply of legal estate planning tools, The Voeller Law Firm creates plans that reflect our client’s wishes and needs. Our goal is to provide the most accurate, up-to-date counsel and advice. At the Voeller Law Firm, an informed client is the client best prepared to make the right decisions. Call our offices now for a free consultation. The Voeller Law Firm, located at 19311, FM 2252, Suite 103, San Antonio, Texas 78266. (210) 651-3851.