When you think about the need for an estate planning attorney, you may think about creating or revising an estate plan that determines how your estate assets are distributed after you are gone. While an estate planning attorney certainly can help you with that, there are numerous other ways in which an estate planning attorney can help you. The Grand Forks estate planning attorneys at German Law explain six reasons why you might need an estate planning attorney.
- Planning for the possibility of incapacity. Incapacity is not something that only happens when you are old. On the contrary, you could become incapacitated at any age because of an accident or serious illness. If you become incapacitated, who will take over control of your assets and make medical decisions for you? If you want to be the one to decide, you need to plan for the possibility by incorporating an incapacity planning component into your comprehensive estate plan that may include things such as a revocable trust, a Power of Attorney, and advance directives.
- Administering a trust. If you suddenly find yourself faced with the prospect of administering a trust because the Trustor appointed you to be the Trustee, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed. Making a mistake while administering a trust could result in a loss of trust assets and may even subject you to personal liability. The good news is that an estate planning attorney can help you fulfill your duties and responsibilities as a Trustee.
- 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 review the Will and evaluate the circumstances surrounding the execution of the Will. If you have grounds for challenging the validity of the Will, an estate planning attorney can help you do so.
- Overseeing the probate of an estate. When someone dies, his or her estate may be required to go through the legal process known as “probate”. If the decedent executed a Last Will and Testament before death the individual named as Executor in the Will is responsible for overseeing the probate of the estate. If the decedent died intestate, someone would need to volunteer to oversee the administration. If you are the one responsible for overseeing the probate of an estate, you will find that it can be a complex and time-consuming job. An estate planning attorney can help you, saving you time and ensuring that mistakes are not made during the probate of the estate.
- Long-term care (Medicaid) planning. There is a very good chance that you will one day need long-term care (LTC) and the longer you live, the greater the odds. 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; however, qualifying can put your assets at risk if you did not plan accordingly. An estate planning attorney can help ensure that you are prepared for the high cost of long-term care by making sure you will qualify for Medicaid without putting your assets at risk.
- Eldercare. At some point in your life, you may realize that a parent is no longer able to safely make decisions or handle his/her finances. At that point, it may be time to consider petitioning for guardianship/conservatorship. The decision and the subsequent legal process can be emotionally exhausting and time-consuming. You may eventually decide that nursing home care is the best option for an elderly parent (or another loved one). Making that decision is difficult enough; however, it can be downright heartbreaking if you begin to suspect elder abuse or neglect after your parent is settled. Fortunately, an estate planning attorney can help you make the right decisions and provide you with legal options if you suspect elder abuse.
Contact a Grand Forks Estate Planning Attorney
Please join us for an upcoming FREE seminar. If you have additional questions or concerns, contact a Grand Forks estate planning attorney at German Law by calling 701-738-0060 to schedule an appointment.
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