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Your Estate Planning Attorney

Estate planning attorneys in West Michigan handle so much more than just the creation of legal documents. One of the most important parts of the job is educating and guiding clients through their options, which often depend on the client’s unique financial and family needs. Today’s article is a basic introduction to wills and trusts.

The Benefits of Living Trusts

Trusts are a great tool for protecting an estate because they provide tax benefits, privacy, and the ability to minimize drawn-out and potentially expensive probate proceedings. A wills and trusts lawyer can help you create the trust, which actually becomes its own legal entity that “owns” any assets you transfer to it. There are many trust options available, so it’s best to really go through the options with an estate planning attorney in order to determine what makes the most sense for you and your family.

Use a Will to Name Guardians

A will, on the other hand, can provide different types of protection. This is the place where you will want to name guardians for minor children or those with disabilities and to express your wishes for what should happen to your property after you pass away. Even if you have a will, your estate will still need to go through the probate process, which usually starts by establishing that the will itself is valid. The best way to move forward will be to work with an estate planning attorney to develop both a will and one or more trusts. In fact, the will itself can even be used to establish a trust upon your death. Yes, that is a lot of choices, but a good estate planning attorney will be able to simplify the entire process for you and offer expert advice on strategizing for the future.

Wills and trusts are not the only important things you will want to discuss with your estate planning attorney. Your estate plan should also include documents such as powers of attorney and medical directives to ensure that your choices for helpers are known should you become incapacitate or disabled. Again, a good estate planning attorney is a great resource for getting things underway.