When dealing with estates, you generally require a lawyer for two main purposes: planning and administration
Estate planning involves the organization of one’s personal affairs through the use of wills, powers of attorney, living wills, and trusts. Proper estate planning accomplishes the desired distribution of a one’s assets during one’s life and after death in the most tax-effective manner. Proper planning further ensures that one’s estate is distributed to the correct beneficiaries, as there are many factors that can unexpectedly impact this, such as marriage, adoption, etc. Additionally, many people assume that estate planning only deals with what happens after one dies. However, it also involves the determination of who will be the decision maker when someone is incapacitated, during one’s lifetime. It is imperative that one has considered all relevant factors and has taken steps to manage their estate appropriately. Because of the complexities of this area, a lawyer with experience and knowledge specifically in estate planning is crucial to ensure that you receive the best advice possible in your situation.
The administration of an estate involves assisting an estate trustee with the interpretation of the will (if any), appointment by the relevant court, payment of estate administration taxes (if necessary), and the eventual distribution of the assets. Since not all individuals properly plan for their deaths, in some situations, the administration of an estate can prove to be a complicated process. Administration of an estate can be a multifaceted and confusing process and as such, experienced legal counsel is recommended.
Be sure to check out our articles on Wills and Estates for some helpful information.
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