Questions That Are Frequently Asked About Estate Planning
Taking the first step toward planning for the future can be challenging. Attorney Susan Eleff and her team at The Eleff Law Group can help you understand all your options and make the process easier.
Below are some questions that the firm’s clients often ask about estate planning. To discuss your specific needs and concerns, call the firm at 800-765-2662 or contact Susan online. Consultations at our office locations in Bethesda, Silver Spring and Washington D.C. are free with certain limitations. Susan serves individuals in Prince George County, Montgomery County,
Do I need a will?
There is no requirement that anyone have a will in place. However, it is in your best interests to have a legally binding will that details how you wish your estate to be handled and distributed upon your death. If you die without a will, the state will take over, and the estate will be distributed according to state law by the courts.
Who can benefit from a trust?
It is a myth that only the wealthy benefit from establishing trusts as part of their estate plans. A trust can help anyone who is seeking ways to protect their assets and property for their future use and the benefit of their heirs and beneficiaries. A trust can be not only a place for assets to be collected and protected but also a way to avoid estate taxes and probate. There are many different types of trusts that achieve different goals. Talking through your situation with your attorney is the best way to determine which trust is right for you.
Can an estate plan help me avoid estate taxes?
A carefully crafted estate plan may help you legally avoid some estate taxes through asset management, gifting and other means. However, even the most comprehensive estate plan cannot exclude every possibility of estate taxes being applied. Your attorney can help you understand your options and the best ways in which to structure your estate to avoid as many additional taxes as possible.
Do I need an estate planning lawyer?
While there are many websites that promote “do-it-yourself” wills and estate planning, this is not always the right avenue for everyone. In fact, in most cases, it is best to talk through your goals with an attorney. Only an experienced, knowledgeable lawyer will be able to utilize all types of estate planning tools, such as wills, trusts, powers of attorney, advance health care directives and more, to your benefit. Without an attorney, your documents may not be legally binding and may not maximize the protection of your assets.
What do I do if I own a business?
It is essential to have a plan in place that describes how the business is to be handled in the event of your death. This can be achieved through business succession planning, which details your wishes for the business, who is to take over, the situations in which the business may be sold and other particulars.