A woman is giving a tour of a house to two people representing estate planning - Legacy Law Centers.Estate planning is a vital process that involves strategically managing your assets and wishes for well beyond your time on this earth. At the heart of this process are two key components: wills and trusts. More likely than not, you have heard of both of them, whether from your favorite legal drama on TV or through someone you know bringing it up for one reason or another. Since there are so many misconceptions surrounding them, there’s a decent chance you may not fully understand their differences or how they can work together to best serve your estate planning needs. This aside, crafting them is considerably challenging, even if you have a decently thorough understanding of them.

Sam Mansoor of Legacy Law Centers prepared this article to provide insight into how an estate planning lawyer can help you leverage all that a will and trust can offer, ensuring your assets are managed and distributed according to your wishes. Sam and the team at Legacy Law Centers have served clients for nearly twenty years in the Leesburg, VA, and Nashville, TN, areas, from providing simple guidance to developing comprehensive estate plans. As helpful as Legacy Law Centers hopes this article is to you, know that it does not replace working directly with an estate planning attorney.

Wills And Trusts – The Basics

Wills are legal documents that outline how a person’s assets will be distributed after their death. They can also designate guardians for minor children and specify other final wishes. On the other hand, trusts are fiduciary arrangements that allow third parties called trustees to manage assets on behalf of beneficiaries. They can be structured in various ways to address different yet specific needs. Common needs people use them for include avoiding probate, minimizing estate tax liabilities, and managing assets for beneficiaries over time.

The Role Of Attorneys

Estate planning lawyers specialize in navigating the complexities associated with wills and trusts. They can ensure that your documents not only serve your interests but do so in a way that doesn’t compromise compliance with the law. They do this in several ways, including:

Drafting Accurate Documentation

Hiring an estate planning lawyer means you’ll have documents that are drafted correctly and accurately and precisely reflect your wishes. They bring their understanding of the law and the many nuances therein to deliver these results to you.

Integrating Wills And Trusts

Wills and trusts have different strengths and weaknesses. Working with an estate planning lawyer means you’ll have the knowledge of someone at your disposal who knows how to make both work for you.

Addressing Unique Needs

Estate planning for families so often brings with it challenges. Do-it-yourself solutions, more often than not, simply can’t address most of the unique and nuanced needs people have. An attorney will deliver the customized estate planning strategies you’ll need regardless of your situation, whether you have a special needs child and don’t want them to lose precious government benefits or a business you want to pass on to your heirs without the risk of legal complications or unnecessary yet relationship-straining disputes.

Insightful Tax Planning

With an estate planning lawyer working with you, you’ll also have a properly structured plan that minimizes estate and gift taxes, preserving the most wealth you can for your beneficiaries. Some tools they’ll likely utilize to this end include a generation-skipping trust or charitable remainder trust.

Ongoing Support

Despite what so many people believe, estate plans are not static. They need to be reviewed and updated on a regular basis to ensure your wishes are properly reflected. This aside, laws change, as might your financial situation or family dynamics. Despite all this, your estate planning attorney will have you covered no matter what the future holds.

And More

Hiring an estate planning attorney involves obvious costs, but these are minuscule in comparison to the alternative. Having an estate plan that’s had serious time and consideration put into it will save you and your loved ones precious hours of time, dollars, and mental and emotional distraction at a time when that energy is much better spent focusing on what truly matters. Most importantly, your loved ones will be immensely grateful you decided to seek the guidance of a qualified estate planning lawyer dedicated to their financial and emotional well-being, an invaluable last memory to have of you.

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