Competent Estate Planning Is for Everyone
Estate Planning | Contrary to popular belief, estate planning is not an expensive luxury reserved exclusively for super-wealthy citizens. Indeed, the vast majority of Americans of more modest means arguably have the most need for competent estate-related legal advice. This is because those with fewer assets are less able to sustain big losses. Moreover, middle-class workers are typically inexperienced with tax shelters, trusts and similar asset protection strategies.
The lack of competent legal assistance can have devastating consequences, especially for those with little or no prior exposure to estate plan strategies. A common error is relying solely on pre-printed blank forms to prepare wills. While this may offer immediate “savings,” it will prove far more costly in the end. No two situations are exactly alike and each case requires individualized treatment to ensure the best possible outcome. What works fine for a neighbor, friend or coworker may be wholly inappropriate for you. This is why there’s simply no substitute for personalized advice and guidance from a qualified lawyer experienced in planning estates.
In addition, applicable laws are complex and change frequently. Even trained legal experts often differ as to the proper interpretation and application of various estate law statutes. Thus, untrained laypeople have little hope of deciphering and comprehending obscure legal codes that may be vitally important to their estate plans. Besides that, major life events can trigger the need for significant adjustments in existing estate plans. Without expert advice, it’s easy to make the wrong decision(s) that may have permanent consequences.
Estate planning defined
To many people, the term evokes mental images of entire law firms on full-time retainer for a single wealthy client. Attorneys spend all day perusing legal documents and laws to identify possible loopholes that allow clients to avoid paying taxes without penalty. Complex legal maneuvers are performed almost daily that are designed to shield rich people from their fair share of financial obligation to the public purse.
Nothing is further from the truth. Planning an estate may be as simple as drafting a valid will. Family trusts are not as exotic or rare as the public has been led to believe. In fact, such legal devices can be created by simply completing one or two forms for filing with the appropriate public records office. Likewise, an estate plan may be as basic as titling property in the proper manner to minimize capital gains or probate taxes. Similarly, transferring nominal ownership of assets to heirs-at-law constitutes an estate plan.
Any act taken toward protecting assets can fall within the category of estate planning. However, qualified legal guidance throughout all phases of the process is vital to avoid defeating its very purposes. No matter what the value of your current estate, take steps to preserve and maximize its value right now. There’s nothing to lose but everything to gain.
If you have questions about protecting your family’s financial future with a competent estate plan, contact the estate planning department at Young Wooldridge, LLP. When choosing estate-planning attorneys, it is important to ensure that they can formulate your plan and execute it. The compassionate estate planning attorneys at Young Wooldridge, LLP have the resources of an experienced litigation firm and will make sure that your wishes are fully carried out.
Call today for a confidential consultation 661.327.9661
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