It’s an unfortunate fact that most Americans do not engage in estate planning, in the same way that most Americans do not properly save for retirement. And many of those who do attempt to do some estate planning often try to go it alone, through relying on basic investing procedures and “do-it-yourself” (DIY) estate planning tools. All this may leave you wondering what exactly it is that estate planning attorneys do, and why you might work with one.
What Happens Where There is No Estate Planning
Before we get into what an estate planning attorney does, let’s simply look at what would happen if you did not engage in any estate planning. When you die, your assets would come under the control of a probate court. That court will decide how your assets will be distributed, and parties wishing to receive your assets will have to take part in the court proceedings (and potentially hire an attorney). This can result in delay and expense, and avoidable taxes might eat up some of the estate. Second of all, without proper estate planning, your estate may not have any significant assets in it to begin with at the end of your life, leaving your beneficiaries without support.
Estate Planning Provides Security For All Involved
An estate planning attorney can help you avoid the above situation playing out by working with you to create and implement estate planning strategies that you can count on to be legally valid and enforceable and which take into account all applicable state and federal laws and other matters, not to mention incorporating growth strategies to maximize your estate.
DIY estate planning kits generally consist of downloadable forms (which are often free elsewhere) but which provide no legal guidance specific to your family’s situation or any assurance that the paperwork has been properly completed. Furthermore, a kit cannot provide the kind of holistic legal guidance that an estate planning attorney can: your estate may involve issues relating to local and state real property laws, intellectual property laws, state and federal taxation, and specific provisions of insurance and retirement plans. An experienced estate planning attorney will guide your estate planning to make sure that all issues are appropriately accounted for, and that your estate planning tools will be enforceable down the line.
Estate Planning Attorneys Know What Works and What Doesn’t
An experienced estate planning attorney works with individuals and families every day to help them plan for their future. While it’s true that every family is different, there are commonalities between families with regard to their goals and financial scenarios, and an experienced estate planning attorney can tell you based on experience what works and what you might avoid in your estate planning.
There are numerous types of estate planning instruments, each with their own intricacies and implications, and an experienced estate planning attorney will walk you through each of them in search of the ones that best grow and protect your assets for the particular financial scenario and goals that you have.
See What a Pasadena Estate Planning Attorney Can Do For You
Christopher B. Johnson is an estate planning attorney in Pasadena, CA who has helped thousands of individuals and families over the past 18 years in creating and reaching their estate planning objectives. Schedule a consultation with him today to discuss your estate planning goals.