Estate Planning Lawyers

The practice of estate planning law involves the drafting of a variety of estate planning documents related to a client’s property. The practice also encompasses documentation of the client’s specific wishes for what will happen upon their death. Each state has nuanced estate planning laws that govern various scenarios that occur upon the death of an individual with property. The state laws will govern things such as the validity of a will, the rules regarding trusts, the probate process, and other estate planning considerations. If someone passes away and does not have the required estate planning documents to effectuate their desires, for example, state law is often going to dictate what happens to their property under State intestacy laws. These laws will outline a formulaic approach to who will receive the decedents property if they do not have a will. If the decedent had a estate plan that avoided probate, intestacy will likely not apply. Planning for these considerations is the main goal of estate planning attorneys.

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Estate Planning Law

When an attorney views estate planning as a body of law, the analysis is usually based on documenting someone’s intent for what they want to have happen to them upon their passing. From a broad viewpoint, the body of law is going to govern what is required in order for these documents to be enforceable and provide a set of procedures for what will happen if there are disputes regarding someone’s estate. Ultimately, the goal of the law is to best facilitate the process of handling one’s affairs, properties and other matters involved in the ending of their life in a way that reflects their wishes explicitly and knowingly set forth by them in their lifetime. An estate planning lawyer’s primary responsibility is to ensure that our client’s wishes have been properly documented so they have the assurance of counsel that their wishes have been set forth in accordance with those estate planning laws. Every state has its own set of these laws so you need to speak with an attorney licensed in the State you currently reside in order to find the best lawyer to assist you. 

Wills

One of the most common estate planning documents is the Last Will and Testament. This document is designed to accomplish a number of things as part of the overall estate plan. Every State has a State statute in place that governs what happens to someone’s property when they pass away. These are referred to as State intestacy statutes. In most States, the surviving spouses and children are some of the first people to receive property and there is an entire set statutory framework for the remaining descendants. The problem is, many people would like to control what happens to their property and not defer to this State hierarchy. That’s where the last will and testament comes in. Intestacy statutes will not apply where there is a valid will in place to be probated. Again, depending on State law, a valid will usually includes capacity, witness requirements, whether or not the will has to be in writing or not, and other nuances depending on the jurisdiction. It is very important that you seek the assistance of a local estate planning lawyer to draft your will so that you can be sure these legal requirements are met. 

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