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It’s something people often postpone or avoid thinking about altogether. As result, over half (about 55%) of Americans don’t have a last will. It doesn’t, however, have to be a morbid affair, and it is something very necessary. Here are 5 reasons why you should consider using the professional services of an estate planning attorney in Northern VA.
In the past, estate planning was generally thought of as something only the wealthy had to deal with. Today, though, it’s vital for the middle class as well. If you have accumulated assets – stocks or real estate or whatever – you want to make sure that, if something happens to you, those assets pass on to your designated heirs.
Without an estate plan in place, the courts will determine who gets your assets, and it’s often a protracted years-long process that can be very unpleasant. But with an estate plan, you get to designate your heirs and decide how your assets are to be distributed. That’s why designating heirs for your assets is a major component of estate planning.
Everyone has heard of probate and about how time-consuming and costly it can be. Probate usually takes a minimum of six months, and at least 10% of your assets will go to executor and attorney fees. But careful estate planning will avoid a large portion of all that.
You could, for example, create a revocable trust and then transfer your assets to the trust. Other possibilities are jointly owning your assets or arranging for the distribution of your assets pursuant to a transfer on death (TOD). Just be aware that executing a will does not necessarily avoid probate. There are both advantages and disadvantages to the options delineated above, so it’s best to make sure you have a comprehensive estate plan in place, one drawn up with an experienced estate planning attorney in Northern VA.
Most people have witnessed the ugly family battles that often occur when a family member dies, battles that often wind up in court. Estate planning can help reduce these family squabbles that sometimes pit siblings against one another. If you should become incapacitated in any way, a will or trust ensures that heirs are clearly designated and distribution of assets and control of finances are documented. It’s all spelled out clearly and thoroughly in the estate plan documents.
Protecting loved ones is often a major focus in estate planning. So protecting your beneficiaries from undue tax burdens should certainly be a concern. A little estate planning can go a long way toward reducing (or even eliminating) payment of state inheritance taxes and state and federal estate taxes. But without an estate plan, a good portion of your assets will wind up in government hands instead of those of your loved ones.
It’s not a pleasant thought, but not everyone lives to reach old age, even parents of young children. Estate planning will help ensure that your children are provided for in the manner you think best. An estate plan will allow you to name approved guardians (in the event that both parents should die) and use your remaining assets for your children’s support. If you don’t have an estate plan with these provisions, the courts will step in and decide who will raise your children and who gets your assets.
It’s always wise to prepare for the worst now, even if the eventuality lies years down the road. Estate planning, done properly with the expert services of an estate planning attorney in Northern VA, protects your assets, your beneficiaries, your heirs, and your family. Discover more about the estate planning process by contacting Legacy Law Group.
For experienced guidance, if you are facing the role of fiduciary, call upon Legacy Law Group to put our 25+ years of experience to work for you from our convenient locations in Manassas and Stafford in Northern Virginia. Our attorneys have been named Legal Leaders by Virginia Business Magazine year after year, and have been reviewed by fellow attorneys to be among the top 1% nationally to earn the Preeminent distinction for legal expertise, ethics, and professionalism by Martindale-Hubbell. Find out more about our qualifications. Give us a call or email, and let us assist you in fulfilling the responsibilities that your loved one left in your good care.
This blog/website is made available by Legacy Law Group of Northern Virginia for educational purposes only, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site, you understand that there is no attorney-client relationship between you and the Legacy Law Group of Northern Virginia or Vanderpool, Frostick & Nishanian, P.C. This blog should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.