You already know that it is incredibly important to plan for end-of-life and estate concerns to relieve stress from your family and keep the government from deciding where your assets should go. In most cases, you can use online tools to help you write your own will. However, there are several cases in which you should absolutely consult an estate attorney.
Consulting with an attorney will obviously be more expensive than simply doing the work on your own. However, the fees you pay to an estate attorney are worth it for the assurance and peace-of-mind for complex issues. These issues also often reflect deep emotional and financial commitments, and taking care of your loved ones is critical.
Read on to find the special cases that should have you finding a lawyer to help you plan your will.
Cases to Consult with an Estate Attorney
If you have a large estate (usually over a few million dollars), going through traditional probate will leave you exposed to exorbitant tax rates. An attorney can help you structure your assets to preserve your legacy. In addition, having an estate attorney work with you is likely to help in the event that your estate is contested. To help you tally up your estate, check out our article on calculating your net worth.
Complex or Blended Families.
While all families are complex, some families are more so in estate planning! If your family is the product of divorces or remarriages, estate planning may not be straightforward. Consulting with an estate attorney can ensure that everything goes well. If you have a preexisting estate plan and have a change in marital status, that is also a good time to consult an attorney. Whether it is divorce, marriage (or remarriage) or widowhood, check in to your plans again.
Child with Special Needs or Other Ongoing Care.
If you are solely responsible for the care of a child who will need ongoing care, you may want to consider establishing a trust. It is highly recommended to only open a trust with the guidance of an attorney. An experienced estate lawyer can help you ensure that you are choosing the right type of trust for your needs. Further, if you have any children, consulting with an estate lawyer to discuss guardianship is a good idea.
International Citizenship—Or Assets.
Whether you, your spouse, your children, or your money have ties to a different country, an attorney can help you navigate international estate laws. There are limits to the inheritance a non-citizen spouse can receive without being exposed to high tax rates. Not only that, but transferring properties in different countries can be a stressful headache without a good plan.
Other Things to Consider
Once you find your estate lawyer and draw up plans, be sure to upload them to Jazmine.com, where they are easily accessible on the cloud.