Some people think that the only reason that you would want to speak with an estate planning attorney would be to take steps to gain estate tax efficiency. They find out that the estate tax exclusion is a relatively high $5.34 million in 2014. Their assets don’t exceed this amount, so they decide that they don’t need to speak with an attorney.
The truth is that the estate tax is only part of the equation. There are a number of other considerations, and it is certainly wise to go forward in an informed manner when you are making preparations for the eventual transfer of your assets to your heirs.
Let’s say that you have someone in the family who is not a good handler of money. If you give this person a direct inheritance via the instructions in a last will, he or she may burn through the money too quickly.
If you express this concern to an estate planning attorney, he or she can make recommendations to you that may assuage your concerns. One of these could be the creation of a spendthrift trust that would protect the beneficiary from his or her own potential bad decision-making.
Protecting assets from litigants could be another objective that you have. There are steps that can be taken to position your resources with asset protection mind.
Providing for someone with a disability requires specialized planning as well.
It is wise to make no assumptions without discussing everything with a licensed estate planning lawyer. Your attorney will gain an understanding of your circumstances and perhaps apprise you of options that you hadn’t heard about previously.