What Does an Estate Lawyer Do?

People spend their entire lives acquiring an “estate.” An estate can be large or small. It consists of savings, checking, and any investment accounts a person may have, as well as all property they own – including moveable and moveable property.

Most people have “movable property.” Moveable property is anything a person owns- a mobile home, furniture, paintings, a car, a coin collection, their clothing and so on. Those people who own their homes rather than rent possess “Immovable property.” Immoveable or “real” property refers to land and to permanent structures (homes, barns, etc.) built on that land.

After working so hard to develop an estate (even if you weren’t really aware that that’s what you were doing!) it would be an absolute tragedy to see some or all of it pass out of your family’s hands once you pass away.

An estate lawyer can help you prevent that from happening.

An estate lawyer performs many functions to help clients protect their assets and ensure that they end up where the client wants them to go.

Drafting a will

One of the main functions an estate lawyer performs is to help a client draft his or her will. A will is imperative in this day and age. If you don’t put down in writing where you want every single bit of your estate to go- from moveable property to immoveable property – a court in your state will decide it for you… and charge your heirs a great deal of money (it could run into the thousands of dollars) for the privilege. It will also take considerable more time than if you leave a will.

Creating a trust

An alternative to a will is to create a trust. With a trust, all of your assets are placed into an account, and you then appoint a “trustee” – a person whom you trust – who will disburse the funds when appropriate. A trust is important if there are young children involved. The funds they are to inherit can be disbursed when they reach a certain age, rather than when they are too young to properly handle the money. An estate lawyer, if so commissioned, can also act as a “protector” of the trust if desired.

Advanced Health Care Directives

More familiarly known as a “Living Will,” this documents ensures that your wishes will be adhered to – regarding your own health – should you suffer an accident that leaves you incapacitated, or if you develop a disease such as Alzheimer’s for example, which will affect your ability to make decisions for yourself about resuscitation, for example.

Probate

When a person passes away, the estate must be divided as he or she wished (if a will or trust was created) or how the court wishes (if there was no will or trust). This is called probate. Probate is a legal process that has to go through the Court (and of course, fees have to be paid to the Court).

An Estate Lawyer Gives You Peace of Mind

53% of Americans have a will. That is an incredibly low percentage. Many young people do not bother with wills, as they did not bother with health insurance. However, accidents happen every day and it is imperative that even young people plan for the future and every eventuality.

Making a Will? Read a Short History and the Benefits of Making a Will

The legal necessity of a will cannot be stressed enough as it basically gives a sense of security to both the maker and the beneficiaries. Will or last testaments have been the last resort in property disputes and if the document are made correctly then it can quash any suit for property division. Wills are typed or handwritten statements wherein it is given the methods or the directions that must be followed during the division or distribution of the assets. These assets must belong to the maker of the will and he must be its rightful owner in the eyes of law. There can be no division of any asset over which the owner or the maker of the will has partial or no right.

The word ‘assets’ here mean the estate, money, belongings, jewels, etc and many more. The owner must have complete ownership over the assets that have been mentioned in the will.

A will or a last testament has been around for hundreds of years and was probably invented by the founders of legal systems and bureaucracy- the Romans. The system was fully streamlined by the British and was used extensively in the Commonwealth countries. History is witness to the senseless blood baths that occurred when a king or a regent died leading to fratricide. Making a will thus became necessary to avoid ugly property disputes that have been a civil problem since the birth of ownership rights. The British led down the groundwork of the wills system and since then it has been followed by the Constitution.

Benefits of making a will

• Keep your family safe: By making your will you ensure that your family is safe from monetary problems as well as property disputes. Your will is a safety buffer against such problems and you can be at peace as you won’t have to think for your family’s condition after you are gone.

• Last wishes: Through a will you can ensure that your last wishes are fulfilled to the last conditions.

• Easy settlement of property: Your descendants won’t have to fight for your property after you are gone if you prepare a will.

Also we would like to state that people rarely find making a Will to be a pleasant task. Preparing a Will is a metaphor for our own mortality which people don’t want to face. But as they say- No one is immortal or escapes death and taxes! Who knows? You could compromise with your own mortal end during the preparation and come out with a better view on life.

Ensuring The Benefits Of The Non-Emplyee Spouse In A Divorce

Specific instructions regarding distribution of the assets and transfer of the funds are vital for any divorce settlement agreement. In case as per the agreement the couple has agreed for 401K Divorce, the court has to issue a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) that gives instructions regarding payment to be made to the non-employee spouse as the share of the plan benefits. This order provides the provision to separate the retirement account, withdraw money from the same without penalty and deposit the same into the retirement account of the non-employee spouse. It is all the more necessary to complete and present the QDRO well before finalization of the divorce. The QDRO service provider helps the separating couple to prepare the document in the proper way and submit the same on time. The preparation is a complicated task and the QDRO specialist who has experience as well as expertise enables the couple to prepare the same in the proper manner so that non-employee spouse will not be denied of the rights to the retirement funds.

Many family law attorneys hire the services of the QDRO specialist to prepare the documents for 401K Divorce plans. The service provider who has years of experience in preparing Qualified Domestic Relations Order offers the most reliable as well as fastest service to the clients. The specialist will work with the clients, their attorneys and the plan administrators. The QDRO specialist assures that the order prepared by him will be accepted by the court. The clients are not required to visit the offices of the QDRO specialists. They can contact the professional over the phone as well as by email. They can provide all the required information by email or by fax. As a result the professionals can provide fast and efficient service to the clients in the most cost-effective way. The clients can contact them over the phone or by email at any time for any clarifications.

There will be a lot of differences among the various retirement plans. Hence it is all the more important to gather all the relevant information prior to the finalization of the divorce. When proper information is not gathered and the distribution plan is prepared in haste it may lead to a lot of confusion and ultimately the non-employee spouse may have heavy loss. The experienced QDRO specialist is able to understand the different retirement plans and their implications, so that he will prepare a perfect QDRO. While preparing the same, the specialist will tailor it to ensure that his client will get the share with no hassles.