If you do not already have an ongoing relationship with an estate planning lawyer, you should. Unlike many other legal issues, estate planning is not something that is ever truly completed. Once you have an estate plan in place, you will need to revisit that plan and revise it numerous times over the course of your lifetime which is one of the many reasons why it is in your best interests to develop an ongoing relationship with your estate planning attorney. Moreover, there are a number of other related issues that your estate planning attorney can help you with should you need it. To give you an idea of the variety of ways in which an estate planning attorney can from estate planning lawyers.
- Creating an estate plan. The first, and most well-known, job of an estate planning lawyer is obviously to help you create your estate plan. Once that plan is in place, however, you will want to continue to nurture your relationship with your attorney throughout the course of your lifetime if for no other reason than because you will likely need to make important changes to your estate plan and it is best to have an attorney who knows you and your assets on your side
- Legacy planning. Legacy planning talks estate planning one step farther by weaving in your deals, beliefs, and faith into your estate plan so that they too might be passed down to the next generation.
- Probating an estate. When someone dies, his or her estate must go through the legal process known as “probate” following the death. If the decedent executed a Last Will and Testament prior to death the individual named as Executor in the Will is responsible for overseeing the probate of the estate. If the decedent died intestate, someone will need to volunteer to oversee the administration. Either way, it can be a complex, and time-consuming job which is why most Executors turn to an estate planning lawyer for help.
- Contesting a Will. The loss of a loved one is never easy to accept; however, the grieving process can be worse if you believe that the Last Will and Testament submitted for probate is invalid. If you find yourself in such a position, an estate planning attorney can help you contest the Will.
- Long-term care (Medicaid) planning. There is a very good chance that you will one day need long-term care (LTC) – and the odds increase dramatically the longer you live. For the average person, the cost of LTC can be prohibitive given the fact that neither Medicare nor basic healthcare insurance will cover LTC costs. Medicaid will cover LTC expenses if you qualify. An estate planning attorney can help ensure that you qualify through Medicaid planning tools and strategies.
- Petitioning for guardianship. At some point in your life, you may realize that a parent is no longer able to safely make decisions nor handle his/her finances. At that point, it may be time to consider petitioning for guardianship over your parent. The decision, and the subsequent legal process can be heart-wrenching and time consuming. To make it easier on you, ask your estate planning lawyer for help.
- Protecting your family pet. If you have a dog, cat, or other animal that you consider to be part of the family, why wouldn’t you include them in your estate plan? Estate planning lawyers can help you do just that
- Planning for a child with special needs. Any direct gift left to a child with special needs could jeopardize much needed assistance from programs such as Medicaid and SSI. Creating a special needs trust, however, can protect the gift while still allowing your child to maintain eligibility for state and federal assistance programs.
- Administering a trust. If you suddenly find yourself faced with the prospect of administering a trust because the Settlor appointed you to be the Trustee, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed. The good news is that an estate planning attorney can help you fulfill your duties and responsibilities as Trustee.
- Addressing elder abuse and neglect. Deciding that nursing home care is the best option for an elderly parent (or other loved one) is not an easy decision to make. If you begin to suspect elder abuse or neglect after your parent is settled it can be heart-breaking. The best thing to do at that point is to contact your estate planning attorney to decide how best to proceed.
Contact Estate Planning Lawyers
For more information, please download our FREE estate planning worksheet. If you have questions or concerns about any of the above estate planning concerns, contact the experienced estate planning lawyers at the Law Offices of Kobrick & Moccia by calling 800-295-1917 to schedule your appointment.