If you have never before worked with an estate planning attorney, you probably aren’t sure exactly what one does for you. Helping you create an estate plan is certainly one of the most important things an estate planning attorney can do for you; however, there are a wide variety of additional reasons for which you may need the assistance of an estate planning attorney. A better understanding of some common things an estate planning attorney can do for you will help you recognize when you need one.
Of course, at the top of the list of things that an estate planning attorney can do for you is, planning your estate. Despite recognizing the need to have at least a basic estate plan in place, over half of all Americans have yet to create a plan. Among the most common explanations people give for the lack of a plan are the common misconceptions that you need to have reached a certain place in your life and/or acquired sufficient assets to warrant creating an estate plan. The reality, however, is that every adult can benefit from having an estate plan in place with regard to wealth, age, or family status.
Planning for your eventual death is certainly important; however, so is planning for the possibility of your own incapacity. Moreover, incapacity is not something that only happens to the elderly. On the contrary, you stand a one in five chance of experiencing a period of disability lasting five months or longer prior to reaching retirement age. An estate planning attorney can help you create a plan that will ensure someone of your choosing will control your assets and make health care decision for you if that does ever happen.
When someone dies, the estate they leave behind must typically go through the legal process known as probate. During probate, the estate assets are identified, located, and valued before they are eventually transferred to the new owners. Probate also serves to authenticate the decedent’s Last Will and Testament and to litigate any challenges to that Will. If you were appointed by a decedent to be the Executor and oversee the probate process, an estate planning attorney can help you navigate the often intimidating legal system.
Long-Term Care and Medicaid Planning
If you are nearing retirement age, you should be thinking about long-term care and Medicaid planning. For 2017, the average cost of a year in long-term care (LTC) was over $80,000. Because neither Medicare nor most basic health insurance plans will pay for LTC expenses, you may find yourself faced with paying for LTC costs out of pocket, putting your retirement nest egg at risk. While Medicaid will help with LYC costs, you must first qualify for Medicaid. That can put your assets at risk if you failed to plan ahead. An estate planning attorney can help you to include Medicaid planning in your estate plan.
Business Succession Planning
If you own a small business, it is imperative that you plan ahead for the day when you can no longer run the business due to retirement, incapacity or death. To ensure that your interest in the business is protected, you need a business succession plan. Your estate planning attorney can help you create a business succession plan and incorporate it into your overall estate plan.
Elder Law Concerns
As the population of older Americans continues to increase in the United States, legal issues they face have become more important as well. Consequently, a new area of the law emerged – elder law. Many estate planning attorneys also focus on elder law issues, including guardianship petitions, handling concerns of elder abuse, and applying for veterans benefits.
No matter how old you are, you should be looking ahead to your retirement years. At some point, you will also need to merge your retirement plan with your estate plan to ensure that they work in harmony with each other. AN estate planning attorney can help you do that.
Contact North Dakota Planning Attorneys
Please join us for an upcoming FREE seminar. If you have additional questions or concerns about what an estate planning attorney can do for you, contact the estate planning attorneys at German Law by calling 701-738-0060 to schedule an appointment.