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How an Estate Planning Attorney Can Help You

3 min read
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Having an estate plan is essential for making sure that your loved ones are cared for and that your assets are distributed the way you want them to be. An attorney can help you with all types of estate planning techniques.

Wallace Law, LLC is a firm that serves clients in the area of estates, trusts and probate. Their attorneys have extensive experience and provide quality representation to their clients.

Legal Advice

A good Estate Planning Attorney in DC will take the nuances of your family situation into consideration as they guide you through the process. They will ensure that your wishes regarding medical care and other legal issues are documented. This helps to avoid disputes between family members over your affairs.

An estate plan will help to avoid the costly and time-consuming probate process. In addition, it will provide your loved ones with peace of mind by clarifying how you wish for your estate to be managed or distributed.

A competent attorney will also help you to minimize the taxes on your estate. They will consider state and federal laws in order to determine how they apply to your specific situation. They may also offer advice about establishing trusts that are beneficial to your family’s circumstances.

Drafting a Will

During the initial meeting, an attorney reviews all of the client’s options. This may include a discussion of estate taxes, inheritance taxes (if applicable) and the probate process.

The next step involves drafting the will. This typically includes a statement that identifies the property you wish to be distributed and who will execute your wishes. It will also name an executor, back-up executors, and guardians for young children.

A will must be signed and dated. It must also be witnessed. It is important to choose what’s called a disinterested witness, someone who doesn’t have a financial or personal interest in your choices. If you change your mind after a will is drafted, it’s possible to add an amendment or codicil to the original document.

Asset Protection

Asset protection is a crucial aspect of estate planning. It involves putting barriers around assets, whether personal or business, to keep them safe from litigation, creditor claims, seizure and burdensome taxes.

One way to protect your assets is by transferring them to a trust. These trusts can be domestic or offshore and can provide certain tax benefits.

Another option is to transfer your assets to a spouse or children so that they are protected from creditors. A lawyer can help you determine which type of trust is best for your situation.

A DC estate planning attorney will draft a comprehensive set of documents to make sure that you’re cared for during your lifetime and that your affairs are settled according to your wishes after your death. This can include a power of attorney, healthcare directives, and a will.

Preparing for Incapacity

The planning process does not end at the point of death, but must also take into account the possibility that you may become incapacitated. To address this, you should prepare incapacity planning documents such as a financial power of attorney, a health care power of attorney, or a living trust.

These documents allow you to name people to make decisions for you on your behalf if you were unable to do so. A healthcare power of attorney will stipulate your wishes regarding the use or denial of specific medical treatments, and may include a HIPPA release to enable your agents to access your medical records.

Incapacity planning can be emotionally difficult. However, having these documents in place can alleviate the stress on your loved ones during a time of crisis.

Planning for Disability

As a person grows older, the odds of becoming disabled or incapacitated increases. If this happens, family members may struggle to decide what a client would have wanted concerning financial matters and healthcare. They may also fight among themselves, making things even more stressful.

A durable power of attorney (POA) and a health care proxy are important documents to include in a disability planning package. The HCP allows you to name an individual to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated.

Life insurance with disability riders and IRAs with Roth 401(k) conversions are other valuable tools. These help disabled beneficiaries receive tax-free distributions throughout their lives. This avoids the need to seek court-imposed guardianship or conservatorship, which can be expensive and time consuming.