People take legal matters into their own hands every day, and sometimes they lose money and property in the process. You can make a legally binding contract without using an attorney, but you are risking missing some big legal loopholes and laws you may not be familiar with that can not only make your contract invalid but can actually cost you in the end. When you are selling or purchasing real estate, tackling the creation of a will or even just loaning money to a friend, a consultation with an attorney can be a positive step. I'll show you when and why you need an attorney.
Estate planning is a natural part of planning for your future and the security of any heirs you have in your life. While you may have named a beneficiary on a bank account or life insurance policy, estate planning goes beyond this. You can decide who you want to leave your assets to, if you want your entire estate liquidated before you divide it up, or who gets specific items that you currently possess. It gets complicated if you have an adult child who is disabled and receiving benefits or if you want to leave someone specifically out of your will. Plan for your inevitable departure by working with an estate planning attorney to make your final wishes known.
Giving Away Specific Property
If you have an heirloom piece of jewelry, a house you want to leave to someone, or anything else that is specific, you can name the individual in your will to receive the property you state. When you are clear who the heir is for an item or piece of property you own, it's much easier to probate your estate.
Liquidating Your Assets
You can choose to have all of your assets liquidated so that the money is collected and put into a general fund. Each heir that you designate will receive a percentage of the assets, depending on how you set it up. You can give people equal parts of the assets or decide to give some people a larger percentage. How you divide up your assets and who you leave it to is up to you when you do estate planning.
Taking Care of an Heir That Is Disabled
If you have an heir who is receiving benefits because they are disabled, a special needs trust can allow you to leave them money without impacting their benefits. When you are not leaving behind enough money to take care of all of their needs, a special needs trust is a good plan. If they inherit the money directly, this can reduce or eliminate the current benefits they have and make it difficult to get the care they need until the money is spent.
When you plan your estate carefully, you can leave money to your children, a friend, your church, or to any other entity you choose. Good estate planning makes your wishes clear and allows you to leave money to people and institutions in a way that has a positive impact.
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