Estate planning is the process of preparing your assets for your death or incapacity. It can also include planning for taxes and creditors. Your estate is simply anything that you own. An estate planning attorney prepares living trusts, living wills, powers of attorney, wills, advance directives, post-nuptial agreements, health care powers of attorney, and the Nevada Asset Protection Trust.
Why is Estate Planning Necessary?
In fact, you don’t need to do any estate planning. But if you don’t, your family will probably pay high probate fees when you die. Probate is a court proceeding that appoints an executor over your assets upon your death. It is expensive (estimate 5% of the fair market value of all your assets), it’s time consuming (at least 9 months), and public in nature (so financial predators can find out what your children received upon your death). When you visit with an estate planning attorney, he or she will normally prepare a revocable living trust as a way to avoid the probate process.
Additionally, if you don’t plan, you may end up in guardianship court if you lose your mind. It is estimated that you are six times more likely to lose your mind this year than you are to die. With the miracles of modern medicine keeping folks alive longer and longer, there is a great chance that you may not mentally be able to handle your finances. Society will appoint a guardian or conservator over you if you begin to lose your mental capacity. This process, too, is expensive and humiliating.
An estate planning attorney can prepare financial powers of attorney and advance directives to appoint someone else to make decisions for you if you lose your mind. While there is no guarantee that appointing such a person will avoid guardianship, it normally will accomplish that goal. This keeps you in control of who will make decisions for you.
Asset protection can be another tool used by an estate planning attorney. Whether that is the limited liability company or the Nevada Asset Protection Trust, courts are now recognizing protection from creditors as a worthy estate planning goal.
How Much Does Estate Planning Attorney Cost?
An estate planning attorney is usually going to charge $1,500 to a few thousand dollars to prepare a plan. While this may seem expensive, when compared to probate fees it’s a bargain. Estate planning is an investment to protect the assets not an expense like a cruise vacation. While there are some that will peddle plans for a few hundred dollars, these are not licensed attorneys and you don’t have the peace of mind that a qualified attorney backs the estate plan carefully prepared for you.