An estate planning lawyer can help individuals create a last will or establish a trust to protect inheritance assets in the event of their death. It is important to select a probate law attorney who listens to your needs and provides sound advice for developing strategies which benefit designated beneficiaries.
Recently, a colleague hired an estate planning lawyer to assist with her terminally-ill mother’s estate. Although her mother was not a wealthy woman, she owned a home, automobile and held financial portfolios and life insurance policies.
The estate attorney was referred through her mother’s credit union. Considerable family strife existed within the family and her mother wanted to disinherit one of her sons. The estate planner executed a simple will and provided strategies to prevent assets from passing through probate.
Due to the nature of illness, the woman’s daughter did not have time to consult with multiple probate law firms. Instead, she was forced to work with an asset protection attorney who had no prior knowledge of her mother, family dynamics, or how she intended to distribute inheritance assets.
The credit union closed their estate planning division due to budget cuts. The daughter was not informed of this and only discovered she no longer had a lawyer for probate after her mother passed away. This created chaos for the daughter who was designated as the probate executor.
To make matters worse, the estate administrator resided in another state. She was forced to locate a new probate litigation attorney just days before returning home. During their meeting, the man expressed no interest in her mother’s estate and was unable to provide advice on how to protect her mother’s Will from being contested by the disinherited son.
Fortunately, she was well-versed in estate planning and had taken steps to obtain asset protection. Because the remainder of the estate was small, the Administrator was able to avoid probate and settle her mother’s estate within a few months.
This goes to show things can go dreadfully wrong when estate planning is put off until a person is terminally ill. Many unwanted issues can arise when trusts and estates are executed during the final weeks of a person’s life.
This is of importance when executing a last will and testament and distributing assets amongst dysfunctional families. When probate estate planning is conducted in the final stages of life, disinherited heirs can contest the will by claiming the decedent was not of sound mine or under the influence of another’s persuasion. When Wills are contested, estates can be suspended in probate for months or years and potentially bankrupt the estate.
Estate and trust planning should be initiated while you are in good health. Hiring an estate planning probate lawyer ensures your final wishes will be followed when you die. It also eliminates stress from the appointed probate personal representative.
To find estate planning probate lawyers visit the American Bar Association website, seek out lawyer referral networks, or browse local telephone directories. Interview a minimum of four lawyers. Ask for referrals and follow-up.