There is often no question whether or not a wealthy person should hire an attorney to help them plan for the handling of their estate in the event of their death. When discussing the finances of an average person, the benefit of these legal services may not be so easy for everyone to see. However, the truth is that even a person with minimal assets can benefit from the services of an estate planning lawyer. Below you will learn more about how these specialized lawyers can help with your financial and health care planning needs.
Understanding Local Laws
People often assume that they are free to choose anyone they want to serve as an executor for their estate. After all, it is their assets that are being distributed. However, while laws will vary from state to state, nearly all states have some sort of law on the books pertaining to who can serve as an executor for your estate. For example, some states will require that the executor is a resident of the same state as you. The reason for this limitation is to prevent any issues of jurisdiction if your estate was to end up in probate court. In other states, the law will prevent anyone who is not related to you by either blood or marriage to serve as an executor. The reason for this is to ensure the executor has a vested interest in seeing that your final wishes are honored.
Being aware of the local laws in your area will ensure that you do not mistakenly appoint an executor that is not allowed to serve in the event of your death. Working with a qualified estate planning attorney will help you to avoid mistakes such as this one.
Minimizing Tax Obligations
The last thing you want, especially if you have modest assets, is for these assets to be consumed by tax obligations upon your death. An estate lawyer will be able to help you design a plan to minimize or even eliminate estate taxes so that more of your assets go to the people and causes you care about rather than going toward paying government taxes.
Protecting Your Assets
In the absence of preventative estate planning measures, it is possible for your loved one's creditors to come after any inheritance that they may receive from you. Assuming you do not want your life savings garnished to cover a loved one's debt, it is important to work with an estate lawyer to protect any inheritance you are able to pass along to your loved ones.
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