An estate planning attorney helps you make decisions and put a plan in place to dictate what happens to your heirlooms, life insurance proceeds, and other assets after your death. Going far beyond just writing a will, estate planning attorneys offer a comprehensive set of legal documents that can meet almost any need.
What an Estate Planning Attorney Will Do for You
A good estate planning lawyer will listen to your preferences and priorities and consider your family’s unique needs. Depending on their circumstances, families may, for example, need to ensure minor children, loved ones with special needs, or other dependents have safety and financial security after their guardians pass away.
An estate planning lawyer can help you create a special needs trust and draft documents that give you control over what happens immediately following your death. No matter your family’s specific planning needs, a lawyer can likely address them.
Understanding the Legal Tools Used by an Estate Planning Lawyer
Estate planning lawyers use several legal tools that give you control of what happens to your estate if you can no longer make decisions on your own because of an illness or injury, or after you pass away. In addition to these tools, there are various tasks your attorney should walk you through to ensure your plan addresses all aspects of your estate and all possible contingencies.
Some of the most common legal documents used in estate planning include:
- Wills and other similar documents
- Revocable trusts
- Irrevocable trusts
- Special needs trusts
- Documents that name guardians for minor children and/or dependent adults
- Durable power of attorney for financial decisions
An estate planning team should also be able to help you:
- Select an executor of your will or administrator of your estate
- Select a caretaker for any surviving dependents
- Name beneficiaries on retirement plans, and other savings plans
- Name beneficiaries for life insurance payouts
- Funeral planning and prepaying burial costs
- Understanding options to meet your family’s unique needs
- Medicaid planning and asset protection
- Estate and inheritance tax planning
The Benefits of Having an Estate Planning Lawyer in Your Life
What happens to your estate after you pass away is important. You likely know what you want to happen to your assets, and to whom they should go. An estate planning attorney should listen to your preferences and explain the options for accomplishing your goals.
When someone dies and does not have a valid will and estate plan in place, the outcome lies in the hands of the court and a stranger often makes these decisions. When you work with an attorney to create an estate plan, it ensures you choose who:
- Administers your estate
- Handles your last bills
- Ensures they follow your last wishes
- Distributes your assets as you described
- Receives your life insurance and retirement policies and other assets
- Oversees the financial future of any dependents or others named in a trust
Many people try to use online templates and other free apps to create a will and other estate planning documents. While this is better than nothing, there is no way of knowing how this will hold up in court if challenged. In addition, you miss out on many of the benefits you receive when you work with an estate planning attorney.
These benefits may include:
- Receiving guidance about your estate based on the details of your financial situation
- Helping you include all possible assets in your plan
- Explaining how taxes may affect the inheritance of your loved ones
- Medicaid planning and asset protection based on your unique circumstances
- Creating a robust, valid will
- Peace of mind from knowing there is a plan in place if you can no longer make these decisions or after you pass away
What Makes Bratton Law Unique
Bratton Law handles estate planning with an interdisciplinary approach. Our team consists of estate planning attorneys who work in conjunction with social workers and a registered nurse. This allows us to approach each family’s individual needs with compassion and empathy.
We guide you through difficult conversations, helping you make the decisions necessary to create the estate plan that will best meet your needs. Whether you need us to write a simple will, create a trust, or help you put guardianship paperwork in place, we can help you navigate the entire process. We will thoroughly explain each option for every decision you need to make, giving you peace of mind about your family’s future after you pass away.
Talk to a New Jersey Estate Planning Attorney Today
If you need help with your New Jersey estate plan, Bratton Law is here to help. Call us today at 856-857-6007 to get started.