While research shows that fewer than half of all Americans have bothered to create documents like a Last Will and Testament, there is also growing evidence that more people are beginning to take estate planning seriously. It’s hard to go anywhere online these days without running into some product or proposal for estate planning. Websites offer everything from free forms for wills and power of attorney to trusts and other estate plan tools. In fact, if you’ve decided to get started with your own estate plan, chances are that you’ve encountered at least some of these offerings at one time or another. Before you decide to use them, however, it’s important to understand one simple fact: the best way to maximize your estate planning efforts is to seek the help of an experienced Port St. Lucie trusts attorney.
Forget Do-it-Yourself; Choose Do-It-Right!
It’s tempting to choose a downloadable form or similar free or low-cost offering. After all, they’re available at little or no cost, and most of the people offering them make it sound as though estate planning really is simple enough that you can handle it on your own. The facts tell a different story, though, and the money you save with these forms today could translate into even greater problems and costs tomorrow.
Take a DIY will, for example. Even a single error in its preparation can leave it open to being challenged in court or otherwise declared invalid – and that would leave your entire estate subject to the state’s intestate laws. Trusts can be even worse. If your trust is created incorrectly, or improperly funded, it could end up being as worthless as the paper on which it is written. That asset protection you thought you secured with your DIY trust? Gone. That smooth transfer of assets you planned on providing for your heirs? Nowhere to be found. Worse, if you expected your trust to keep your estate out of probate, you may be shocked to discover that an invalidated trust is like having no trust at all. And where does that leave your estate? That’s right: probate court.
Why an Attorney Matters
The fact is that estate planning involves a whole host of complex legal questions and issues that need to be resolved by a professional. Make no mistake: there is no DIY form that can effectively accomplish the goals of everyone who uses it. To get that unique plan that’s right for your circumstances, you need a competent attorney’s assistance. And, of course, that attorney can help to prevent the common errors that could render your self-created estate plan useless.
Your Port St. Lucie trusts attorney can help you to:
- Create a Last Will and Testament that will withstand legal challenge and accomplish the specific goals you’ve established for your estate planning efforts.
- Help you develop power of attorney to ensure decision-making continuity for your financial and medical decisions in the event that you become incapacitated due to illness or injury.
- Help you determine whether your estate planning efforts can benefit from the inclusion of one or more trusts.
How Trusts Can Maximize your Estate Planning
A trusts attorney can be of invaluable assistance in helping you with the creation and funding of your trust agreements. Depending upon the type of trust created, your estate can benefit in a whole host of different ways – ranging from the avoidance of probate to asset protection and Medicaid planning. In some instances, you can even use trusts to help minimize tax concerns.
Your first instinct might be to assume that trusts are only for the rich. That is, after all, what most of us have been led to believe. To be fair, that was even true for many years. In recent decades, however, trusts have become more accessible to average Americans, as new trust types have been created to meet a variety of different estate planning challenges. Just consider these different trust options and benefits:
- You can have a trust to help you plan for Medicaid benefits later in life – ensuring that you have the help you need to pay for crucial long-term care when you need it most.
- A pet planning trust can help you provide for your beloved animal companions after you’re gone.
- Irrevocable trusts can help to reduce exposure to estate tax liability.
- Trusts can determine how assets are distributed to heirs, unlike the terms of a will which can sometimes be thrown out by the judge overseeing probate. That can help you to provide distribution over time, ensuring that spendthrift heirs don’t squander in a week an inheritance that is designed to last for decades.
- A special needs trust can provide an organized way to care for a disabled loved one after you’re gone, without interfering with that heir’s eligibility for important needs-based program benefits.
Relying on the Professionals
The right trusts attorney in Port St. Lucie can help you to find the right trust vehicles for your needs, get your trust set up for you, and even help to guide you through the all-important process of getting it funded. Trust terms can be written to ensure that your heirs receive their inheritance in accordance with your actual wishes, and without any serious concern that the trust terms might be challenged or invalidated after you pass away. While you could try to accomplish all of this on your own using some cheap internet form, an experienced attorney is clearly the better choice if you want your interests to be properly protected.
At Robert Kulas Attorneys at Law, our experienced trust attorneys can provide you with the guidance and assistance you need to overcome all of your planning challenges. We have the best estate planning team in the Port St. Lucie area, and have spent years helping clients just like you create the trusts and other planning vehicles they needed to protect their assets, provide for their loved ones, and leave behind a lasting legacy. If you’d like to discover more about how we can assist you with your trust needs, contact us at our website or call our office at (772) 398-0720 today.