Within the past decade or so, we have seen a decline in the number of people who leave behind a will to distribute their assets and make provisions for their dependents. As a matter of fact, in 2009, only 35% of all adult Americans had a will, with only half having any proper estate planning documents at all. This decline is understandable. The times are tough, but lawyers are always expensive. Still, if you have sizeable assets, you need to have an estate planning attorney like Brisbane law firm do the work for you.
One, the federal estate tax for assets that are worth at least $1,000,000 is set to make a comeback. So you could be paying taxes on top of the estate taxes imposed by your state (most states have a lower minimum value to tax). Second, without any plan as you go into the afterlife, your estate will be taken over by the courts and the judge will determine how your assets are going to be divided. This can take a long time, depending on the size and nature of your assets. If you have dependents or have adult children that you love equally, the last thing you want is to see your children fight over money.
There are those who argue that you can do estate planning yourself. You can do that, but do make sure that you do it using software that lawyers use to write a will and that you consult a lawyer and pay him his hourly fees for looking over your will.
We don’t need to tell you, but probate law or the law covering estate planning can be a minefield that can hurt your loved ones if you are not careful. We remember the case of a Florida woman who had someone in her apartment building write her will for her. The wording in the will was such that the apartment lost protection from creditors, leaving the woman’s heirs with no choice but to wait for the 90-day period for creditors (there were none) to make a claim before they could sell the property.
Of course, not all DIY estate planning efforts end up as horror stories, but you can just imagine the complexity of estate planning.
But professional estate planning by a local lawyer doesn’t just prevent disasters from happening – it serves a real purpose. Specifically, it maximizes your assets by finding ways to reduce the taxes and other expenses that are paid as your will is executed.
There are many lawyers out there who do estate planning. They are expensive if you hire them. Lawyers on the lower end of the scale charge $2,000 to $4,000 for a whole package. Other lawyers obviously charge more. But as we said earlier, you can save money by writing a will yourself, using the software being used by attorneys to write such documents, and then have a lawyer check your document.