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ESTATE PLANNING - Lawyers and the Law

Estate planning is an important step for people who want to ensure their possessions and assets are distributed according to their final wishes. Estate planning law is a body of law designed to reduce the uncertainty over disbursement of a person's estate upon their death by creating laws that reduce uncertainty as to powers of attorney, property ownership, living wills, and, perhaps most importantly, wills and trusts. Estate planning can be a somber experience, but it is important that every person with assets they desire to devise upon their death work with an estate planning attorney to properly ensure their final wishes are carried out. An estate planning attorney can help create a will, set up a trust, and otherwise oversee the disbursement of assets is carried out according to plan.

Wills and Trusts

Wills and trusts are two common and effective means of transferring interests in real or personal property to another upon death. A will is legal document that provides for the disbursement and management of an estate upon death and if properly created. As a binding document that the law will recognize, the divisor's last wishes are indicated and usually followed. A trust is created when one person manages property for the benefit of another. Trusts are not limited to estate planning situations, but are commonly used because they allow those who want to leave property to children, or persons unable to properly care for the asset, to leave the responsibility for managing the property in the hands of a trustee. The trust will manage the property per the final wishes of its creator until the benefactor is able to take over. Wills and trusts are common legal tools to pass on an estate, and must be properly created according to the local estate planning laws to have effect. Any person interested in either should work with an estate-planning attorney to ensure the documents are proper and have the authority to carry out the final wishes.

Dying Intestate

When a person dies intestate it means that they have not properly articulated what is supposed to happen with their assets. Such a situation can make a death even more complicated to deal with for family members and heirs surviving the deceased. States have estate-planning laws that guide the intestate process and helps to remove the uncertainty of property disbursement. These intestate laws create a system for a probate court Judge to determine the legal disbursement of assets of deceased persons. A potential beneficiary or supposedly intended beneficiary of a deceased that did not use a will should immediately contact an estate-planning attorney for advice and legal assistance.

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