No one wants to think about estate planning, but it’s a critical part of life. As you grow older, it becomes increasingly important to have a solid plan. A well-drafted plan can ensure your assets are distributed according to your wishes after you pass and help minimize the tax burden and emotional stress on your loved ones.
What to look for in a law firm
If you’re looking for a law firm to help you with estate planning, it’s crucial to select one with experience and expertise. When looking for a reputable firm, your local bar association or the Better Business Bureau is a great place to start. They will be able to tell you if there have been any complaints against the law firm.
Also make sure the firm you choose has experience in estate planning. Not all lawyers specialize in this area of law. Therefore, it is important to find a firm that is well-versed in all aspects of estate planning, including estate and trust administration, litigation, and probate, to ensure they can properly advise you.
After selecting a law firm, set up a consultation to ensure that you are comfortable with your attorney and feel confident that they can properly provide guidance and represent your interests.
What to expect during the estate planning process
Estate planning can be complex, but with the help of a knowledgeable lawyer, it doesn’t have to be daunting. The main components can include preparing a Last Will and Testament that outlines who will serve as the executor of your estate and designating your beneficiaries and what they will inherit. This document also outlines how your property and assets will be handled.
You may also want to set up a Durable Power of Attorney or POA, which allows designated agents – usually family members or close friends – to act on behalf of an incapacitated person if necessary. You can also designate a Healthcare Power of Attorney to authorize an agent to specifically make medical decisions if you cannot communicate your wishes in an emergency.
You may also want to consider setting up a Living Trust, which allows you to create a trust and transfer assets for your beneficiaries while you’re still alive, or a Living Will, which outlines your directives for how medical treatments should be handled if you are unable to advocate for yourself.
The importance of estate planning
Every person should consider having an estate plan in place in case something happens and they cannot make decisions for themselves. If you don’t have a plan in place, your loved ones may have to go to court to sort out your affairs. This can be a costly and time-consuming process, so it’s best to take care of this important task ahead of time.
LPEP can help
There are many firms out there, and it’s essential to choose the right firm for you. Our team at Lonich Patton Ehrlich Policastri has decades of combined experience navigating complex family law and estate planning cases in the Bay Area. We are ready to help you navigate your unique situation. Call us at 408-553-0801 to schedule a free consultation today.