Estate planning is not something that is ever truly completed. Once you have an estate plan in place, you will need to revisit that plan and revise it numerous times over the course of your life which is one of the many reasons why it is in your best interests to develop an ongoing relationship with your estate planning attorney. Moreover, there are numerous other ways in which an estate planning attorney can help you. The Ashland estate planning attorneys at Potter Law Firm explain 10 reasons you might need an estate planning attorney.
- Creating an estate plan. Clearly, an estate planning attorney can help you create your estate plan. Once that plan is in place, however, you will want to continue to nurture your relationship with your attorney throughout the course of your lifetime because you will likely need to make important changes to your estate plan throughout your life.
- Legacy planning. Legacy planning takes estate planning one step farther by weaving in your ideals, beliefs, faith, and philosophies into your estate plan so that they too can be passed down to the next generation.
- Probating an estate. When someone dies, his or her estate usually has to go through the legal process known as “probate” following the death. If the decedent executed a Last Will and Testament prior to death the individual named as Executor in the Will is responsible for overseeing the probate of the estate. If the decedent died intestate, someone must be appointed to oversee the administration of the estate. Probate can be a complex, and time-consuming job which is why most Executors turn to an estate planning lawyer for help.
- 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 help you contest the Will.
- Long-term care (Medicaid) planning. There is a very good chance that you will one day need long-term care (LTC) – and the odds increase dramatically the longer you live. For the average person, the cost of LTC can be prohibitive since neither Medicare nor basic healthcare insurance will cover LTC costs. Medicaid will cover LTC expenses if you qualify. An estate planning attorney can help ensure that you qualify by incorporating Medicaid planning tools and strategies into your estate plan.
- Petitioning for guardianship. At some point in your life, you may realize that a parent is no longer able to safely make decisions nor handle his/her finances. At that point it may be time to consider petitioning for guardianship over your parent. The decision, and the subsequent legal process can be heart-wrenching and time consuming. To make it easier on you, or to learn about alternatives to guardianship, ask your estate planning lawyer for help.
- Protecting your family pet. If you have a dog, cat, or other animal that you consider to be part of the family, why wouldn’t you include them in your estate plan? Estate planning lawyers can help you do just that to make sure your pet is well cared for if you can no longer provide that care.
- Planning for a child with special needs. Any direct gift left to a child with special needs could jeopardize much needed assistance from programs such as Medicaid and SSI. Creating a special needs trust, however, can protect the gift while still allowing your child to maintain eligibility for state and federal assistance programs.
- Administering a trust. If you suddenly find yourself faced with the prospect of administering a trust because the Settlor appointed you to be the Trustee, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed. The good news is that an estate planning attorney can help you fulfill your duties and responsibilities as Trustee.
- Addressing elder abuse and neglect. Deciding that nursing home care is the best option for an elderly parent (or other loved one) is not an easy decision to make. If you begin to suspect your loved one is the victim of elder abuse or neglect it can be heart-wrenching. The best thing to do at that point is to contact your estate planning attorney to decide how best to proceed.
Contact Ashland Estate Planning Lawyers
For more information, please download our FREE estate planning worksheet. If you have questions or concerns about any of the above estate planning concerns, contact the experienced Ashland estate planning lawyers at the Potter Law Firm by calling 606-324-5516 to schedule your appointment. Our Florence, Kentucky office can be reached at 859-372-6655. Our Charlotte and Huntersville, North Carolina offices can be reached at 704-944-3245.