Do You Need a Lawyer for Estate Planning?

Having a sound estate plan is a vital part of securing your financial legacy and making sure your family will be well taken care of once you are gone. It’s also tricky, though. Given the amount of legal paperwork involved, you also need to have an estate planning lawyer to help you with your estate plan. These attorneys are licensed law professionals who can offer you advice on how to manage the assets included in your estate. They can also help you determine how your assets will be valued, distributed, and taxed when they are passed down to your heirs. 

An estate planning attorney in Omaha can help you avoid a number of pitfalls and ensure that your estate remains safe and goes to the right people after your death. Let’s review the things that these lawyers can help you with and where you can find a reliable professional for the job.

1. Prepare a Clear and Concise Will As Per State Laws

Estate planning lawyers are essential for creating a Last Will and Testament that demonstrates your wishes regarding the distribution of your estate. They can guide you on the assets that can be transferred via your Will. 

Without a valid Last will and testament, the state will oversee the distribution of your assets, and they will be transferred as per the laws of intestacy. This can be a long and complicated process, and your assets may not get distributed in the manner you wanted. 

When creating a Last Will, an estate planning attorney can help you:

  • Name beneficiaries 
  • Make sure your Will is prepared as per state laws
  • Name a guardian if you have children who are less than 18 years old 
  • Find and choose suitable witnesses who have no personal stake in the Will 

2. Create a Durable Power of Attorney or a Living Will for End-of-Life Medical Care 

A durable power of attorney is a legal document that appoints a person to handle your financial matters or make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. It serves as a tool for medical emergencies and can eliminate uncertainty and confusion relating to difficult medical decisions. You can appoint someone you trust to make these decisions and offer some clarity in a tough situation. 

A durable power of attorney expires when the person who created it passes away. 

When it comes to making healthcare decisions, an estate planning attorney can also help you prepare a living will. This Will outlines your wishes for when you become mentally or physically incapacitated and can no longer make decisions for yourself. It can direct your doctors on end-of-life medical care. You can decide how long you want to receive palliative care and whether you want doctors to resort to extraordinary measures such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in certain circumstances. You can also specify if you want to be put on life support and for how long. 

An estate planning lawyer can help you prepare both of these documents properly so that they are enforceable under state laws and help you retain some degree of control even if you become incapacitated.

Simplify Complicated Situations 

Having an estate planning attorney in Omaha who knows what they are doing is also helpful for navigating complex situations. For instance, if you have been married more than once or have multiple businesses or real estate assets in different states, then you can consult with your estate planning attorney on how to manage these assets and avoid potential conflicts. 

They can also guide you on other instances, such as donating some or all of your assets to charity, managing the assets in your IRA or 401(k), etc. Moreover, if you have been recently divorced, they can help you determine how this impacts your estate and update your plan to reflect your new priorities. 

Planning for such situations in advance is essential as it makes sure a significant portion of your estate doesn’t end up with the IRS or the revenue department of your state. 

4. Minimize Your Taxes 

One of the key benefits of hiring an estate planning lawyer is that it helps you control the amount of tax you or your beneficiaries will pay. For example, currently, in the state of Nebraska, a surviving spouse does not have to pay taxes on the value of assets they inherit. However, other relatives are required to pay a tax of 1% if the value of their inheritance exceeds $40,000. More distant relatives are subject to higher tax rates. They may need to pay taxes at a rate of 13% if they inherit more than $15,000. 

Other people or organizations that do not fall in any of the categories mentioned above need to pay 18% in taxes for amounts over $10,000. 

Charitable organizations are typically exempt from paying taxes. Moreover, certain asset types are also not subject to inheritance tax in Nebraska. These include certain payments that have been made from employee benefits plans, life insurance proceeds that have gone to a named beneficiary or a trust, or money that is considered as family maintenance allowance for immediate family members.

Knowing about how inheritance tax works can help you distribute your assets more strategically and save money. An estate planning lawyer will be able to plan for taxes here and make sure your estate goes to its respective heirs without losing a significant chunk of its value to taxes. 

5. Update Your Estate Plan

Life happens, and your priorities change. Someone who may have been a major beneficiary in your estate in the past may need to be removed or vice versa. An estate planning attorney can help you stay on top of things here and update your estate plan to reflect your new goals and priorities. 

This can help you be prepared for unexpected situations and tackle them accordingly. 

Find a Qualified Estate Planning Attorney in Omaha 

Having an estate planning attorney can help you prepare a clear and valid Last Will and Testament that allows your assets to be distributed as per your wishes. You can also work with them to prepare other legal documents, such as a Living Will. An estate planning lawyer can also help you navigate complex situations, minimize taxes, and make sure your estate plan is up-to-date.

If you are searching for an experienced estate planning attorney in Omaha, reach out to Welch Law Firm today and get help for all your estate planning needs. They have over 30 years of experience in estate planning, personal injury law, corporate law, bankruptcy, litigation, and more. Whatever it is that you are looking for, they will be able to help you out. Good luck! 

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