Mall City Estate Experts in Kalamazoo
You are never too late to start working on how your assets will be handled once you pass away or become incapable of tackling things independently.
Your assets can be physical, intangible, operating, or non-operating. For instance, any property, including your cash, jewelry, investments, house, savings, retirement account, and more, makes up your estate.
Therefore, estate planning extends far beyond just real estate. The process involves organizing, classifying, and making appropriate plans for handling your affairs after you die or become incapacitated.
Estate procedure is overwhelming and impossible without a professional estate attorney.
At Kalamazoo, we want to simplify your estate plans and make the paperwork more manageable for you. As such, we offer solid solutions to the daunting task of estate planning by connecting you with a professional estate lawyer in Kalamazoo.
About Our Network
Benjamin Franklin said, “You may delay, but time will not.” Perhaps we all know that we need a real estate plan. However, regrettably, only a few of us do anything about it. A study reveals that half of American adults don’t have a will.
Because the clock is ticking, we are here to help you create an estate plan before it’s too late. Our experts connect you to highly skilled and trained lawyers who handle your task.
The staff uses the latest technology to make the process efficient and effective. Because we aim to deliver the highest standard of work to our clients, our team ensures that you hire the most professional and experienced estate lawyer.
Our network of lawyers in Kalamazoo have years of experience in the field and provide the most appropriate solutions to your problems. Not only do they address your current issues, but they look forward to resolving your future problems efficiently.
The Kalamazoo estate attorneys we connect our clients with have a history of positive and successful outcomes. Their past clients are delighted with how they solved their problems, prevented family conflicts, and offered real solutions regarding assets.
When clients reach out to us, our team’s only priority is to listen to their concerns and connect them to the finest and most experienced attorney. For this reason alone, our experts focus less on clients’ wallets and more on their pain points.
Our network of estate lawyers value your assets and seek to secure them at low costs. However, we never compromise our team’s service quality but help you achieve your goals through local estimates.
Kalamazoo Estate Planning Lawyers and What They Do
You might think of men dressed up in formal attires defending clients in a court on hearing the word estate attorneys or lawyers, which is precisely what the media has stereotyped lawyers as.
An estate lawyer in Kalamazoo plays a much different role than attorneys who fight for clients in court. Instead, they perform a more fulfilling duty in today’s modern world.
But before we explain what an estate planning lawyer in Kalamazoo is, it is imperative to know what estate is in the first place. The word estate probably makes us think of giant buildings or houses that belong to someone.
Estate can be anything, such as houses, bank accounts, cars, and even pets. Essentially, anything that you possess makes up your estate.
A Kalamazoo estate lawyer is responsible for organizing all your possessions. This, in turn, helps people manage their belongings following their death. While the process sounds intimidating – of course, nobody likes to think of death – we cannot deny its significance either.
Perhaps you’ve seen films where the lawyer announces the will after the death of a wealthy person. Who is getting what from their assets and how much – all of it is explicitly read by estate planning lawyers.
Their job is to handle and manage someone’s possessions before and after death.
Write Living Wills
A living will, also known as an advance directive, refers to the legal documentation that allows you to state your medical care preferences if you become incapable of making your own decisions. This can happen if you become severely injured, terminally ill, experience dementia, or are near the end of your life. Note that living wills aren’t only for older adults. Unexpected life changes can happen at any age.
So, if you’re in your teenage or early adulthood, it would be wrong to assume that you do not need it. When you think ahead, you reduce confusion about your choices. On top of that, you get the treatment you want and are spared from further agony. An estate attorney helps write your living will by addressing possible end-of-life care decisions. For instance, you may want to specify your treatment procedures that highlight if you want to donate your organs after death or not.
Draft Last Wills and Testaments
As the name implies, your last will involves legal documentation about your final wishes regarding your possessions and dependents. It outlines what to do about the assets. For instance, you may want to donate them to a charity organization or a group, or perhaps leave them for another person of your choice.
Simply put, last wills and testaments give you control over what happens to your possessions after you pass away. In fact, it is a key element of an estate plan to ensure that your assets are settled in the way you want. Fortunately, estate lawyers in Kalamazoo help draft, sign, and implement your last will through legal procedures and per the state laws. Not only this, but they also guide and advise you about your will and other available options.
Set up Trusts
This is crucial to those with dependents. A real estate attorney in Kalamazoo, Michigan organizes and manages your assets when you select a person or entity to receive your money, jewelry, or other belongings. For example, you may want to pay a portion of your money for your child’s schooling. Now, if the money would be handed over to the child, they might use it otherwise. A trust ensures that your money is utilized per your stated and intended purpose.
Help Figure Out When to Include Something In a Will
There are several ways to entrust your possessions to the people before you pass away, and they don’t have to entail all of the red tapes that come with inherited assets. When you figure out what you have to give and to whom before an accident or other severe incident, you can limit what you choose to include in your will.
Reduce Inheritance Taxes and Probate Costs
The inheritance laws vary from state to state. Therefore, to whom your assets will be transferred and what procedures will be followed varies depending on your location. A professional estate lawyer in Kalamazoo can help you get familiar with how the laws work in your region and give the most effective possible recommendations.
Guide About Caring for Dependent Loved Ones
Perhaps you have a guardian in mind who will take care of your children after you pass away, or something happens to you. This could be someone who isn’t directly related to you. A real estate lawyer in Kalamazoo, Michigan helps to put everything on paper and manages the entire process to ensure your children are looked after when you’re not around.
Prevent the Family from Unnecessary Conflict
Hiring an estate lawyer in Kalamazoo is an excellent way to prevent unnecessary family conflict and drama. Simply put, without a lawyer, many family members would want to be a part of the estate process, which creates chaos and conflict. If you keep them away from the probate process, they will likely feel that you are hiding something from them. In reality, the more people get involved in the process, the more complicated it gets. Everybody puts forth their unique suggestions and might disagree with your approach regarding estate issues. Nonetheless, an estate lawyer helps avoid the tension and gives clarity regarding any questions; this, in turn, reduces conflict and makes the process smoother. Not only this, but it also decreases the chance of someone getting accused of not handling the estate properly.
Kalamazoo Estate Lawyer Qualifications
Estate lawyers should have a Juris Doctor degree. Lawyers with JD degrees must also pass the bar exam for whichever state they want to practice in.
While the degree and exam are difficult and achieving them are milestones, and anyone with these worthy accomplishments can practice as a lawyer, it is always better to hire a lawyer who specializes in estate law.
Specializing in estate law means having a skill beyond standard tests and classrooms.
Undoubtedly, anyone with experience in estate law can help you with the estate process, but only to a certain extent. It takes years of professional training and working with a qualified law agency to specialize in estate law.
A person who specializes in estate law is more skilled, experienced, and an expert in their field. They know the nitty-gritty of estate laws and how they work and give you the greatest and most effective possible solutions for your probate process.
Therefore, do some research and seek lawyers who specialize in estate laws and cater to your needs. This may be someone you would want to build a long-term relationship with. Because, of course, the probate process is not an overnight procedure.
So, ideally, finding someone you can trust with your estate planning is essential.
An expert estate lawyer in Kalamazoo picks up your wants and needs through a single meaningful conversation and avoids the headache of the daunting procedure.
Reasons to Hire Estate Lawyers in Kalamazoo
Whether you want to draft your own will or are in charge of someone else’s estate, a probate lawyer can help in different ways. As stated earlier, they know the details of the entire process and give the most honest and meaningful advice to prevent confusion.
Even if you are savvy and know a lot about your state’s estate laws, writing wills and managing the whole procedure is not as straightforward as it looks.
Down the line, you can quickly run into unexpected problems that can further complicate the process. So, regardless of your knowledge, it’s always better to entrust your tasks to an attorney.
Different family members have varying opinions regarding the estate. As such, it can easily lead to disputes. However, a real estate lawyer in Kalamazoo can help avoid conflicts, making the process more manageable for you. A probate lawyer is a professional who doesn’t relate to your or your family, and they bring more objectivity into the situation.
You’ll undoubtedly run into a plethora of questions during the process of estate planning. For instance, do all your assets need probating? What if you pass away with an unpaid debt? Can you choose not to give your assets to your family members? A probate lawyer addresses such questions and more for you. Besides, they give you invaluable advice. A single mistake during estate planning can cause problems in the long run. However, an experienced lawyer ensures that doesn’t happen.
An estate lawyer ensures that your family doesn’t jump through hoops when you are no longer around and seeks to protect your assets. A typical estate plan includes trust, will, power of attorney, guardianship nomination, medical directive, general assignment, and more. These (and other) documents specify the following things: if you have children, the guardianship nomination allows you to choose who you want to look after your kids when you are gone. The nomination document is the only proof the court will have after your death. However, note that this document is just a nomination. The court will still investigate the guardian before appointing them. Your possessions would be handed over to the people you love the most. This typically includes a set of rules that state who will receive the inheritance and when. For instance, you can set up a trust for your kids to receive your estate at a particular age. On the surface, asset prevention seems like a straightforward process, but a single missed signature or wrong word can leave your family unprotected and make them suffer. Meeting an estate lawyer ensures that you cover all the bases, giving you a sigh of relief.
In all honesty, estate planning is not cheap. Of course, any procedure meant to protect your assets and care for your family would cost you money. But here’s the deal, if you do it on your own, you may run into more unexpected costs, making the plan even more expensive. However, an estate lawyer takes prompt actions to control your assets, preventing loss or theft. Also, they give suggestions about taxes and mortgages to help you avoid penalties. In addition, they evaluate notices from lenders to determine their authenticity. So, if you do not want to hike the already costly probate process, it’s better to let an estate lawyer handle things for you.
Life changes, and so do our choices and circumstances, and it’s perfectly alright. Maybe you gave birth, got divorced or married, or perhaps your chosen trustees aged. Not only this, but some of us also run into unexpected family problems that alter our relationships with each other. Therefore, you may want to update your state plan over time. Contacting a real estate lawyer in Kalamazoo, Michigan after a significant life event helps you update your legal documents. The attorney ensures to modify your papers per your needs and wishes. Highly trained probate lawyers have extensive knowledge in the estate planning process and can save you in the event of unanticipated life changes.
An attorney organizes all your wishes and records. This enables your beloved ones to find the following things after you die: insurance policies, financial records, titles, and beneficiary designations. On top of that, they help you figure out and resolve errors while you are still alive. Simply put, you have a chance to fix them in your lifetime. Not sure what common mistakes you can run into during estate planning? We’ll explain.
One common error committed in the process of estate planning is of nominating beneficiaries. The tax consequences of selecting certain beneficiaries to receive your 401ks or Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), for instance, can be substantial. Other typical errors that a probate lawyer can help you avoid include:
Not completing the entire process. Not drafting an estate plan. Forgetting to include certain people or assets. Creating an insufficient estate plan. Failing to alter the estate plan after significant life changes. A probate lawyer also eliminates the hassle of creating an entire estate plan. Beyond that, they reduce additional court costs, taxes, and professional fees. The moment you feel the need to visit the court to adjust your estate plan, all your savings will probably go down the drain. But when you work with a professional attorney, it eliminates the chance of costing you extra money.
Various factors determine whether or not your estate is liable for federal estate taxes. These include: debt you owe when you’re about to pass away, total worth of your gross assets, deductions that your estate may qualify for, and the total costs of drafting your estate plan. Knowing this, you can calculate your total estate by considering the gross estate minus expenses and debts, transfers (to a trustee), and donations. Then you have to subtract the federal inheritance tax exemption from your total estate. The entire tax process is complicated, and if you do not know the precise details, you’ll quickly end up paying more than required. An estate lawyer in Kalamazoo, Michigan helps reduce the tax liabilities because they understand all the involved taxes pretty well.
Although the basics of estate planning remain the same, you may want to alter them per your unique circumstances. For instance, you may have a kid with special needs who the government supports. In that case, inheriting assets outright to your kid might minimize or eliminate their public benefits. Fortunately, several types of trusts help you support your loved ones by inheriting assets and allowing your children to receive general perks simultaneously. However, setting up a trust in such circumstances is a complicated procedure and requires proper estate planning. You need to hire a real estate lawyer who understands the details of special needs trusts and ensures maximum protection for your loved ones. A real estate attorney will avoid cutting government benefits while your child receives the much-needed inheritance.
Importance of Estate Planning in Kalamazoo
An estate plan helps you distribute your property, cash, belongings, and other financial assets per your will and desires. If you would not make these decisions when you are able and alive, the court or state law will make them for you after you pass away.
This might result in decisions against your will, which might not suit your family.
You must consider estate planning to avoid such a situation because of an accident or sudden death. Also, your age or the amount of wealth you own doesn’t count; estate planning is for everyone.
Here are a few points that shed light on the importance of estate planning:
- An estate plan helps you explain who should receive your money from retirement accounts, insurance policies, financial accounts, and more.
- The medical directives allow you to pinpoint the kind of treatment you’d want if you become disabled.
- An estate lawyer can appoint people who’d make necessary financial or medical decisions if you become incapacitated.
- Dying without a will indicates that state laws determine what will happen to your estate and who owns which assets. Nonetheless, the paperwork during the probate process ensures you inherit your support to those you want. No one is allowed to touch your estate, and the court goes through every detail and implements decisions accordingly.
- You can ensure that your assets are passed down to your heirs without the federal government or state putting hefty taxes on them. You can create joint accounts, set up trusts, or include irreversible gifts.
These moves eliminate assets from your estate. Nonetheless, you need an appropriate estate plan to implement such meaningful actions.
- Imagine passing without a surviving spouse. Your children would suffer and may enter foster care due to your negligence. Creating an estate plan and nominating a guardian is always wise to ensure your children receive the inheritance.
- Lastly, an estate plan isn’t about everything that happens after your death. It comes in handy even when you are living and healthy. For instance, legal documents like healthcare proxy and power of attorney ensure that your matters will be held per your wishes if you cannot handle them permanently or temporarily.
Exciting Facts About Estate Planning
What’s better than securing your children’s future and dictating your will before passing away? Estate planning helps you preserve, manage, and distribute your estate after your death.
Besides, if a severe accident or life event makes you incapacitated, an estate plan will manage your assets and provide you with the medical treatment you need.
Check out some interesting facts about estate planning below.
It Isn’t for the Rich
Many people associate estate planning with the wealthy; however, that’s not true. An appropriate estate plan is a must for everyone regardless of the value of your assets.
It gives you the authority to put conditions on how your estate will be distributed and among whom. Of course, everyone has desires regarding their possessions – whatever they may be – and perhaps you’d prefer handling them on your own.
That said, most people associate estate plan only with the rich because it involves tax planning, too. To avoid getting taxed, people often keep away from setting up an estate plan.
The truth is, estate planning is more than just taxes. Not considering one can leave your beloved ones, especially your children, in the dark.
The Sooner the Better
No matter your age right now, it’s time to create an estate plan right away. Setting up an estate plan when you are healthy and able is the greatest thing you can do for yourself and your family.
It gives you a chance to explore all possible options and make wise, rational decisions. Besides, if you’d wait longer, you might miss out on the opportunity to create a plan at all.
Age Doesn’t Count
If you are of legal age and own anything, you must consider an estate plan. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to own a $20 million mansion. In fact, your car, home, bank account, personal possessions, and retirement accounts all make up your estate.
Also, note that there’s no specified value. Regardless of your estate worth, you can go for estate planning.
Estate Plan Reduces Family Squabbles
Disputes and disagreements following an estate are pretty common and not surprising at all. You don’t have to be super-rich to experience such issues in your family.
Your belongings – more or less – are assets after all, and family would have different opinions regarding it. An attorney, however, can narrow down the process for you and guide you better about distributing your assets.
Protects Your Children
Proper estate planning keeps your children from lawsuits and creditors. When your kids inherit property through state laws, they are highly vulnerable to creditors.
For instance, the assets are regarded as your children’s earnings and property. As such, your assets – and your children’s inheritance – can easily get lost to lawsuits or creditors.
However, estate planning allows you to leave your belongings in a trust. This, in turn, protects your children and their inherited assets.
You Can’t Do It Alone
Although the concept of estate planning is pretty simple, the process is downright complex and comes with a set of challenges. Regardless of your knowledge regarding the estate plan procedure, you cannot do it alone.
Even if you do, you’ll soon find yourself overwhelmed and paying hefty amounts to the court. Therefore, it is always better to hire an attorney to avoid pitfalls.
A Kalamazoo lawyer well-versed in estate planning can tackle daunting tasks for you and take care of your valuable assets.
Why Choose Our Network?
When finding an attorney through our network, you work directly with a Kalamazoo estate planning attorney who cares for your needs and desires.
Though many people prefer DIYing their estate plans, we have heard several stories about clients falling into a false sense of security. Drafting descriptions and words on your own can reduce the efficacy of documents, and the consequences are irreversible.
More often than not, wrongly written statements make the will invalid.
Our network of estate professionals connect you with lawyers that offer technical support regarding your important matters.
With years of experience, our estate lawyers in Kalamazoo, Michigan, help draft wills, living wills, power of attorneys, and more. They explain what you require and why exactly you need it.
Our experts make the entire estate planning process transparent and state all the costs beforehand. This helps set realistic expectations with our clients and doesn’t lead to misunderstandings in the long run.
Besides, if you are someone who finds things are turning against the will of your lost loved one, the best estate attorney in Kalamazoo will fight for your rights. Simply put, you won’t be deprived of your inheritance when working with us.
Our experts aim to protect your assets and ensure that they are distributed per your unique will. Share with us the desires regarding your estate, and we will take the burden off your shoulders.
We are here to connect you with the top Kalamazoo estate planning lawyer has to offer!