Estate planning is often disregarded or stalled because it's a daunting task. Few people really want to face the unpleasant reality that one day they'll perish and their properties will need to be given out. But if you want to regulate how your loved ones receive their share of your assets, then you'll need to plan accordingly. Estate planning isn't for everyone, but there are some key signs that it may be time to employ an estate planning attorney.

Key Take-Aways

  • An experienced estate planning attorney can help prevent probate.
  • You should employ an estate planning attorney if you have a high net worth.
  • By receiving reliable recommendations, you can find the absolute best estate plan for your family.
  • An estate planning attorney may prove useful with business succession and charitable giving.

What Is an Estate Planning Attorney?

An estate planning attorney is someone that is an expert in helping their clients think about end of life and what happens on their behalf once they pass away.

That includes various functions such as funeral arrangements, guardian naming for children, future ownership of property and more. It also addresses what should happen if you are still alive, but are unable to decide for yourself (if you are in a coma, for example). They may also have the capacity to help you establish trusts that provide income for beneficiaries while you are still alive, or defend against probate.

There are many online and automated estate planning services. However, they're questionable when it comes to sensitive or complex situations where the care of a human attorney is required.

You Should Hire an Estate Planning Attorney If:

Under these scenarios, it is imperative that you contact an estate planning attorney in St. Petersburg, FL:

You Have a High Net Worth

If you have a high net worth, of over $10 million or have substantial assets in 401( k) s or IRAs, then you should get in touch with an estate planning attorney. They will work along with a financial advisor to manage the complex legal matters that are entailed in large estates. In these cases, federal estate taxes may possibly be prevented or minimized with some wise planning.

If You Have Martial Concerns

If you have any financial responsibilities or issues over a divorce, then you'll need an estate planning attorney. They should recognize with family law to create a plan to meet your obligations.

If You Have Special Needs Kids

If you have a little one who has special needs, then you need to ensure your child is cared for and will still receive their social security disability insurance after you depart. Software alternatives won't be able to consider the emotional and human implications that will be so important to you; contact an estate planning attorney.

If You Have Special Government Benefits

If you're at the age where government benefits are an integral part of your health care and financial set-up, then an estate planning attorney (who specializes in elder law) will be needed to structure your estate.

You Wish To Prevent Probate

Probate is expensive, stress-filled and often very lengthy. That's the last thing any family wants after a passing. However, with the assistance of an estate planning attorney, they can set-up structures such as a Revocable Living Trust to prevent probate after your death.

You Should Think Of Working With an Estate Planning Attorney If:

Depending upon your situation, you may also require an estate planning attorney in St. Petersburg, FL if:

You Have Children

The primary reason Americans work with estate planning attorneys is to ensure their descendants are protected and receive a portion of the assets as intended. An estate planning attorney may also have the ability to reduce the need for probate, by naming a recipient at a brokerage firm (Transfer on Death) or a bank or credit union (Payable on Death).

It's also worth considering that children may not be old enough to receive a large inheritance, through which case a trust can be prepared appropriately. Guardianship will also be covered, to ensure younger children are cared for and protected once you die.

You Have Philanthropic Goals

Many people with valuable estates have aspirations to leave behind money to charities. It is also possible to set-up an income stream for the charity, while you're still alive. Under both circumstances, there are several benefits:

  • Decrease or get rid of capital gains tax on assets that have been shared.
  • Claim income reductions on charitable giving.
  • Reduce federal estate taxes.
  • Your money goes to a worthy cause.
  • You have control over where your assets go.

An estate planning attorney will have the ability to analyze which approach is ideal for you.

You Own a Business

If you own a business, then you need to put a structure in position for a smooth transfer of its succession. For example, if you wish to keep it in the family, you can do so through a family limited partnership or a family limited liability company. It's crucial that you make an informed decision that helps all involved. With an estate planning attorney, you'll make no mistakes.

If You Have a Complicated Family Circumstance

Households that have stepchildren or step-parents involved may want to leave different levels of inheritance. An estate planning attorney can plan so that your assets are shared to meet your intentions only. You can also prepare, so your inheritance and wishes are protected if your spouse were to remarry after your death.

Will, Trust and Probate Attorneys in

The absolute best estate planning attorneys will have expert knowledge in all areas of family law, including wills, trust and probate. The main difference between a will and a trust is that a will only become active when you die, whereas a trust is active from the moment you create it.

A will legally directs who receives your assets after your death and who is the legal representative to ensure the demands are met.

A trust can happen before death or after. The arrangement usually has two types of beneficiaries:

  • A beneficiary that receives income from the trust during their lives.
  • A beneficiary that receives what is remaining after the first beneficiary.

Trusts are usually used if you have financial assets, retirement assets, real estate assets or life insurance that requires more extensive planning.

An estate planning attorney's contribution tends to trigger wiser investment and asset protection, compared to someone that may mean well but lacks the experience for wise judgments.

Probate Attorneys in St. Petersburg, FL

Probate is a legal process that handles an estate after a death, including proving the validity of the will. During this process, assets will be shared and creditors paid.

A St. Petersburg, FL probate attorney will manage the paperwork and court appearances, so the deceased's intentions are respected and all federal and state laws are followed. They'll be by their clients' side from the first day to the finish, and will protect them from creditors or other threats to the estate, like harmful relatives or business partners.

Estate Planning & Probate Attorney Rachel Drude-Tomori
5858 Central Ave suite d, St Petersburg, FL (727) 381-2300
5 out of 5 based on 16 reviews

Rachel Drude-Tomori is a named partner with the firm specializing in the areas of Estate Planning, Probate & Elder Law. She consistently has been named as a Super Lawyers Rising Star in Estate Planning by Super Lawyers Magazine, a distinction received by only 2.5% of attorneys in Florida.

Author's Bio: 

Hamza has worked in various senior roles including, sales, manufacturing and commercial.

During this time he has gained an invaluable insight into the day-to-day pressures that go with such leadership roles and the expectations to be met.