Help with Estate Planning
Hiring a Bel Air Estate Planning Attorney is the best way to know you’ve adequately prepared for you and your family’s future. Additionally, depending on what you wish to achieve, an estate plan can help support family members, charities, and other worthy causes.
Estate Planning Attorneys
All individuals, regardless of their financial position, will benefit from talking with an Estate Planning Lawyer. However, speaking with a lawyer can be very useful when a person suddenly comes into a lot of money, such as from inheritance or a business sale.
A proper estate plan typically utilizes both a trust and a will. These two powerful tools allow you to make sure not only that your financial goals are addressed, but that you have peace of mind knowing those you love will be taken care of properly when you’re no longer able or willing to do so.
What is estate planning?
Estate planning is the process through which you make known your wishes for what you want to happen to your assets upon your death (commonly done through a last will and testament). Estate planning also involves stating your wishes for your health care through power of attorney declarations and advanced directives. In short, it allows you to maintain control of your health care and estate.
How much does estate planning cost?
There are do-it-yourself documents available online that allow you to create your own will, advance directive, and power of attorney declaration. Going this route will be cheaper than using an attorney in the present. However, it is good to work on an estate plan with your attorney to ensure you are going through the process correctly and addressing details you haven’t thought of. If you are worried about cost, you can discuss that with attorneys at your initial consultations as you shop around.
What estate planning documents do you need?
Every estate plan should include a last will and testament or establish a trust. This will allow you to state how you wish to distribute your assets to beneficiaries upon your death. A power of attorney declaration will name someone you trust to handle your health care and/or financial decisions if you are ever unable to. An advanced directive (also known as a living will) will state your wishes for any care you want to receive if you are unable to make those decisions at the time. This is useful when it comes to end-of-life care or if you ever need life-saving care because of an accident or illness.
Who needs estate planning?
Everyone needs estate planning, and if you are 18, it is never too early to start thinking about your plan! While we all want to live a long, full life, accidents and illnesses happen. And having a plan in place will go a long way in protecting your wishes.
What sort of issues can I seek legal help with?
Specialized legal help is available for most legal issues. Each case is unique; seeking legal help is a smart first step toward understanding your legal situation and seeking the best path toward resolution for your case. An experienced lawyer understands the local laws surrounding your case and what your best legal options might be. More importantly, there are certain situations and circumstances – such as being charged with a crime – where you should always seek experienced legal help.
Tips on Approaching an Initial Attorney Consultation
- Use the consultation as a means of gaining a better understanding of your legal situation.
- Ask the attorney how many cases similar to yours he/she has handled. An attorney’s experience and knowledge can speak to their expertise (or lack of) in addressing your situation.
- Your attorney should be able to articulate roughly how long a case like yours will take to resolve and what sort of procedures to expect.
- Determine how comfortable you are working with the lawyer and/or law firm.
Types of legal fees:
Bill by the hour: Many attorneys bill by the hour. How much an attorney bills you per hour will vary based on a number of factors. For instance, an attorney’s hourly fee may fluctuate based on whether that hour is spent representing you in court or doing research on your case. Attorneys in one practice area may bill you more than attorneys in a different practice area.
Contingent fee: Some lawyers will accept payment via contingent fee. In this arrangement, the lawyer receives a percentage of the total monetary recovery if you win your lawsuit. In sum, the lawyer only gets paid if you win. Contingent fee agreements are limited to specific practice areas in civil law.
Flat fee: For “routine” legal work where the attorney generally knows the amount of time and resources necessary to complete the task, he/she may be willing to bill you a flat fee for services performed.
Common legal terms explained
Personal jurisdiction – Requirement that a particular court have authority over a person, in order to bind that person to the judgment of the court, based on minimum contacts. International Shoe Co v. Washington is a landmark Supreme Court case outlining the scope of a state court’s reach in personal jurisdiction.