April 12, 2021

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What is an Estate Planning Lawyer?

If you are incarcerated or in jail for a long time then you will need an estate planning lawyer. An estate planning lawyer is sometimes confused with a “real estate lawyer.” Although an estate planning lawyer may also be able to help you manage the real estate you own, an estate includes all types of property: real property, personal property, and intangible assets like intellectual property.

So What does an Estate Planning Lawyer Do?

An estate planning lawyer will help you manage your assets and transfer them to your beneficiaries once you have passed away or incarcerated in jail. Pop culture and TV often talk about leaving property to your heirs in a will, but usually the best vehicle for transferring property to your beneficiaries is through a revocable living trust (“RLT”).

An RLT is a flexible legal instrument that allows you to transfer property into and out of the trust during your lifetime. Once you pass away, the RLT becomes irrevocable and will transfer your property to your beneficiaries whenever and however you choose.

The RLT is a good replacement for a will because unlike a will, the RLT does not have to be processed in probate court. It costs time and money to administer a will in probate court. The RLT bypasses this process and saves your heirs unnecessary costs and time spent administering your estate once you have passed away.

What Types of Documents Can an Estate Planning Lawyer Prepare?

Besides the RLT, an estate planning lawyer can set up other important documents to help you deal with your estate for circumstances that occur even before you die or while you are in jail.

For example, in the event you become incapacitated – which means you no longer possess the ability to make legal decisions for yourself, you can create documents ahead of time to save your loved ones from argument or confusion over your caretaking during this time. Incapacitation can occur during old age with dementia, or can happen earlier if an accident has caused unconsciousness or brain trauma.

During incapacitation, decisions still have to made, and your property still needs to be managed.

To help you manage your financial affairs, either during your incapacitation or otherwise, you can appoint an agent and provide that person with the authority to manage your money and even enter into contracts on your behalf. This is called the financial power of attorney, which your estate planning lawyer can create for you.

Another important document your estate planning attorney can create for you is your Advance Healthcare Directive (“AHD”). In your AHD you can appoint a medical agent to make medical decisions for you during your incapacitation. You can set up multiple agents, and be precise with which decisions they have the power to make – such as whether to receive ongoing life support. You can also spell out your precise wishes for your medical agents to follow, such as whether you wish to be an organ donor or the type of ongoing medical care you would like to receive.

Your attorney can also prepare your HIPAA release form, which allows your medical agents access to your protected health information. This ensures they will be able to see the entire picture necessary to make decisions concerning your medical care.

How Do I Hire an Estate Planning Lawyer?

We help all types of families prepare estate plans to secure a peaceful future. Just call or text Attorney Paul Denni at 949-973-6478 for a free consultation to get started.