An estate planning attorney, also referred to as a probate attorney, is typically associated with someone who can only help with designating who your property goes to after your death. Although estate planning lawyers can assist you with drafting the appropriate paperwork regarding the inheritance of your property, there are several other types of legal matters they can assist you with. Talking with an attorney about estate planning includes a wide range of things, from the drafting of a will to instituting the power of attorney, but the attorney can also assist those you have designated as the beneficiary. Here are some of the ways an estate planning lawyer can be of assistance to your beneficiaries following your death.
Help With Financial Matters
When of the most common things that beneficiaries face is how they are going to settle the financial obligations of the deceased person that left them assets. Outstanding loans, property taxes, and immediate debts should be addressed as soon as possible in order to avoid any penalties that may be placed against the estate. An estate planning lawyer can help beneficiaries sort through the deceased person's financial obligations and recommend the best course of action for paying down their debts. The attorney can also determine if gift tax or income tax is applicable toward the inheritance. If taxes are required, the attorney can help the beneficiaries determine if payments can be made to cover the taxes or if the assets must be sold to cover the costs.
Help Find and Secure Assets
Estate planning attorneys can also help beneficiaries locate and secure financial capital and material assets that were left to the beneficiary. This may include locating things, such as bank accounts, property deeds, retirement accounts, insurance settlements, or stocks and bonds. An attorney can secure the entire inheritance to ensure that the beneficiary doesn't neglect to maintain the accounts that the beneficiary is now responsible for. All property left to the beneficiary should be titled into their name, and their accounts, such as retirement and life insurance policies, should be collected on and redistributed into the beneficiary's bank account in order to secure the inheritance.
Help in the Sale of Inherited Property
If, for any reason, the beneficiary chooses not to keep the inherited property, an estate planning attorney can help in the sale of the property, as well as other assets. The attorney will generally have inventoried the inherited property and obtained appraisal values, which can help ensure the inherited items are sold for the appropriate value. The attorney can also help file and prepare any required documentation through the courts to ensure that there isn't anything overlooked with the sale of the estate.
Enlisting the help of an estate planning attorney means help will be available for beneficiaries should any complications and legal issues arise relating to their inheritance. Regardless of how large or how small your inheritance may be, consulting with an estate planning lawyer can be extremely beneficial for helping to ensure you receive all of the inheritance you are entitled to as well as ensure that all legal issues are properly addressed.
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