Estate Planning: When You Need a Lawyer and When You Don’t

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Estate Planning Lawyer in UtahAccepting that you’re merely mortal is one of the most difficult things people do in life. Because of this, many put off estate planning since with it comes the realization that someday you will pass away, potentially become demented, have to decide who to pass on your estate to, and make plans of your end-of-life care.

Will You Need a Lawyer for Estate Planning?

Generally, estate planning can be simple enough for people without complicated family dynamics and financial arrangements, as well as for individuals with only few assets. In some instances, experts warn that DIY estate planning may even be worse than doing nothing at all since a missing signature or an error in the wording may change your intent included in the trust or will. For example, improper paperwork can result in a family member with special needs losing their claim on government benefits, or an ex-husband or wife getting assets because of poor planning of asset distribution.

People with significant wealth to their name that will be subjected to federal estate taxes, as well as state estate tax, must consider getting help from an estate planning lawyer in Salt Lake City, such as, to help them maximize the inheritance and effectively regulate tax exposure among many other things.

When deciding to get help from an estate planning attorney, check your life in general and your assets to find out if you fit one or more of the scenarios below:

  • You are in a later or second marriage
  • You have one or more thriving businesses
  • You have real estate in different states or in other countries
  • You don’t have children
  • You’ll be leaving behind minor children
  • You have a child considered a “problem child”.
  • You have a special needs or disabled family member
  • You wish to leave a part or everything in your estate to a charity
  • You were divorced recently
  • You recently lost a family member or a spouse
  • You have significant IRAs and/or 401(k) assets
  • Your estate is considered taxable for state and federal estate tax purposes
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If one or several of these scenarios apply to your case, then you must definitely consider consulting an estate planning lawyer. Otherwise, a probate lawyer, or worse — the IRS or the department of revenue in your state — will be the ones to inherit a substantial part of your estate.