Estate law revolves around the physical and personal property of individuals. It involves handling finances and property during the lifetime of a person. It also helps in dealing with what will happen to a person’s finances and property after their death. Scroll down till the end to know in detail about estate law.
What Is Considered As Estate?
Anything that makes up an individual’s net worth comes under the category of an estate. An individual’s estate can be determined by adding up the assets and deducting debts. A person’s estate can include real property such as land.
Personal property of a person, including vehicles and household items, can also be included within a person’s estate. It can also be included within bank accounts and other financial instruments. Shared property can also be a part of an estate based on how they share the property.
Kinds Of Law That Makes Up Estate Law
Estate law can be made up using different types of legal documents. Sometimes the laws intertwine with each other. Check out what can be involved within estate law.
A person can state what happens to their property after their death in wills. The legal document enables a person to determine who will get their property when they pass away. A person needs to deduct their debts from their estate value before adding up the remaining assets. The assets can then be distributed among people of their choice.
A person needs to check the state law of the place where they live before creating a will. If a person dies without having a valid will in place, it is called dying intestate. The state decides what happens to the estate of a dead person without a will. A will estate lawyer can help you deal with the estate of a deceased person. They can assist in contesting the distribution of an estate when someone without an estate plan in place dies.
A trust permits you to hold a property owned by someone else. A trust is often made to reduce the burden of estate taxes. It can also help in minimising the hassle that comes with estate distribution.
Sometimes trust is made to handle property in the name of a minor. Trusts can also be set up for people with disabilities. Hiring a family trust attorney will help you analyse if a trust is suitable for you to reach your estate planning goals.
3. Power Of Attorney And Advance Directives
A power of attorney or an advanced directive will help a person decide what will happen to them in a situation where they can’t care for themselves. Giving a power of attorney to someone means that they will be able to deal with your finances when you are incapacitated. People make advance directives for situations when they will need life-saving efforts like CPR due to severe medical difficulties.
A guardianship is for people with physical or mental disabilities who can’t manage their affairs. Even though it is common for children, adults might also need guardianships. Children require guardianship if somehow their parents become unable to care for them. A guardianship petition gives legal authority to someone else to make decisions for you.
Features Of Estate Law
Some common features of estate law are as follows:
1. Transactional And Litigation
Estate law can be transactional as well as litigation. Transactional estate lawyers help clients make future plans by preparing documents. No court appearances are required when you make a will or set up a trust.
But in the case of a will contest, an estate lawyer has to become a litigator. They have to attend court and provide proof at a contested hearing. Estate lawyers are primarily engaged in transactional law. However, they can become litigators when needed keeping in mind the best interests of clients.
2. Proactive And Reactive
Estate law is both proactive and reactive, unlike criminal law. You will realise that criminal law is simply reactive. If you face a criminal charge, the purpose of a criminal lawyer is to help a client react. Civil litigation cases are also about something that has already occurred.
But estate law is both reactive and proactive. An estate lawyer can help clients manage their estate for the future. Advanced planning allows the client to carry out their wishes properly. Estate law is reactive when it helps clients deal with will contests and estate administration.
3. Influenced By State Law
Estate law differs from state to state. The state law decides what you should include in a will to make the will valid. You need to carefully structure your estate contemplating federal taxes.
An asset protection attorney needs to be well-acquainted with federal law to help their clients. Estate lawyers can build a solid financial foundation from their practice.