Wills and estates law deals with how an individual or couple plans for the future — and conversely, with the ways that an individual's family did not plan for the future. When someone contacts a law firm for wills and estates representation, it's essentially for one of two fundamental reasons:
to arrange a will, a trust, or other estate planning tool(s) to protect one's assets for children and other beneficiaries, or
to get help when someone else's will and/or estate is not "in order," leaving behind problems for children/beneficiaries
Protecting Your Assets, Heirs and Desires Wills and estate attorneys protect the interests of their clients by a number of means, including, for example:
writing wills that clearly define their clients' wishes, leaving no room for confusion or disputes about how and to whom the clients want their property and other assets to go to
creating trusts or other tools that protect assets and their transfer to beneficiaries
avoiding the lengthy, costly process of probate
minimizing the portion of an estate that goes to government
obtaining powers of attorney and naming an executor to appoint the desired person(s) to make decisions
planning for a funeral, donation of organs, and charitable contributions
protecting hard-earned savings
The Benefits of Estate Planning Anyone with any level of assets will benefit from estate planning. When someone passes away without having made a will, trust, or other instrument (that is, without planning what to do with an 'estate'), his or her estate (no matter how modest or magnificent) will be dealt with by state probate laws, which are not necessarily in accord with how that person would wish.
The benefits of estate planning are many. When you work with an experienced and skillful wills and estates law firm, you can be confident that you will be able to:
choose the executor(s) or trustee(s) who will handle your estate after you're gone
provide for your immediate family — e.g., for your surviving spouse and children's future
minimize the cost of transferring your assets to the beneficiaries you've designated
get your property to beneficiaries quickly
reduce the taxes on your estate
help ensure that your business continues to prosper after your passing
help a favorite charitable cause
plan for the possibility of becoming mentally and/or physically incapacitated — with, e.g., a durable healthcare power of attorney
describe your wishes regarding your burial and funeral
These goals and many more are clearly attainable with the assistance of a wills and estates law firm.
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