If you are trying to decide how to organize the distribution of your assets or the care of your children after your death and you need legal assistance, you should hire your own lawyer. An estate planning lawyer is an attorney who specializes in federal and state laws related to estates, trusts, and estates. They can review your situation and help you create or update your estate plan to make sure it fits your wishes. Just about everyone can benefit from an estate plan, and most people would benefit from hiring an estate planning lawyer to make sure it's done correctly.
But just to be clear, not everyone needs an estate planning lawyer. For example, if you have a single asset or a very simple estate or are concerned about costs, an online solution such as Policygenius, Trust %26 Will, or Willing may be useful. An active trust is often much better than a simple will to transfer your assets to your loved ones, and it's the foundation of a complete estate plan. Generally, all of your real estate must be held by a trust and not by an individual, but it's important to discuss your particular situation with a qualified lawyer.
Sometimes, attorneys create separate living trusts for spouses, and sometimes joint trusts, depending on their circumstances. Please note that Rocket Lawyer is not a lawyer referral service, an accountant referral service, an accounting firm, or a law firm, it does not provide legal or tax advice or representation (except in certain jurisdictions), and is not intended to replace an attorney, accountant, accounting firm, or law firm. It's about coordinating what you have with your plan to make sure everything goes the way you want and in the most tax-efficient way, says attorney Susan H. Estate planning attorneys do more than just prepare your will; they can guide you through a wide range of end-of-life agreements.
Every good estate plan is personalized and takes into account the current family structure, the most up-to-date tax legislation and recent court decisions. If you have appointed a guardian in your estate plan, it is very likely (though not guaranteed) that the court will comply with your wishes. It may make sense to hire an attorney to help you formulate or review your estate plan in all but the simplest of circumstances. An estate plan is about making sure that if something happens to you, your family knows what to do.
Without the carefully designed, fully signed and attested documents that make up a complete estate plan, your wishes, which you thought “everyone understood,” are likely to have no legal weight. It actually depends on the complexity of your personal situation, which a good lawyer will take time to fully understand. The best real estate lawyer will have specific experience in California and will sit down to truly understand the makeup and concerns of your family. Look for an attorney who specializes in estate planning in your state, as laws can vary from state to state.