When should you hire an estate planning attorney?

Lawyer reviewing documents with his client

What is an estate planning lawyer?

When you think about estate planning, what do you picture? Chances are, you’re considering someone elderly with a large inheritance to distribute. Most people consider estate planning a priority for the wealthy, but the truth is that it’s an important part of anyone’s financial future. If you want your loved ones to have an easy time determining your wishes after your death, looking into estate planning should be a priority.

Estate planning—including what happens with insurance benefits, business ownership, or other complicated financial questions—often requires the help of legal professionals known as estate planning attorneys. Finding an estate planning attorney may be fairly simple depending on your assets. Whichever one you choose should have a good grasp on both the personal and business aspects of the process.

What does an estate planning lawyer do?

An estate planning lawyer is a legal professional who helps individuals plan and manage their estates. Some of the tasks an estate planning lawyer may handle include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Drafting wills, trusts, and other estate planning documents. Creating documents to provide instructions on your final wishes can be complicated. An estate planning attorney helps simplify this process.
  • Helping clients make decisions about how to distribute their assets after they pass away. An estate planning lawyer can advise you on how to distribute your assets among any beneficiaries and heirs.
  • Advising clients on tax implications related to their estates. Your estate divisions may have tax implications, especially if you have significant assets. The right estate planning lawyer can help your beneficiaries avoid paying hefty penalties.
  • Setting up powers of attorney or healthcare directives. Estate planning isn’t just for dealing with your death. It can also be used to give clear instructions on what you want to happen should you become incapacitated or too sick to make decisions.
  • Assisting with business succession planning. Who gets control of your business after your death? What happens to those assets? If you’re a business owner, estate planning can help ensure the company’s future is in the right hands.
  • Providing guidance on final expense insurance options for covering end-of-life costs. For those without a term life insurance or permanent life insurance policy, final expense insurance can help cover the basic expenses of end-of-life costs.

How much does estate planning cost?

Like many legal matters, estate planning costs can vary based on several factors. These include where you live, the services you receive, the complexity of your situation and the fee structure. Some attorneys charge hourly fees, whereas others may offer a flat fee if they can confidently predict the difficulty of your documentation.

In addition to the estate planning attorney, you need to factor in other costs, such as life insurance premiums. This is especially true if you’re trying to plan for the future in the aftermath of a life event like a wedding, a promotion at work or another significant change.

So when should you consider an estate planning attorney? You may want to hire one if the following apply to you:

  • You’re a small business owner or partner
  • You have property or assets that are out-of-state
  • You have foreign property
  • You plan to bequeath assets to non-citizen(s)
  • You want to leave a legacy, such as a trust
  • You may need to protect immediate family members with special needs
  • You want to protect assets from Medicaid
  • You need to set up irrevocable trusts
  • You want to disinherit immediate family members

At what age should I start estate planning?

There’s never actually a bad time to start thinking about estate planning, but there are times when it makes more sense than others. Getting married, having kids and approaching retirement are some of the most popular (and important) times to have those conversations.

Younger people should consider estate planning once they start a family or own a business. This includes if you start a business from the ground up or take a business over. Even rudimentary estate planning can help provide guidance and safeguard your assets. One of the best times to think about your estate plan is when you first purchase a life insurance policy, which is also one of the first times many people will need to consider things like beneficiaries.

Let SelectQuote Help You Plan for the Future

Life insurance is one of the most essential parts of protecting your family and your future. It’s also a key part of the estate planning process. When the time comes to choose a policy and shop for coverage, SelectQuote can help.

We work with some of the most trusted life insurance carriers in the marketplace and shop for coverage from dozens of them at once to help you find the right policy to meet your needs. Whether you want permanent coverage as part of an investment strategy or a term life policy to cover your growing family, our team can help.

We do the shopping. You do the saving.