What Does an Estate Planning Attorney Do?

Death opens succession, but it doesn’t mean that you should wait for this moment to arrive before you plan who succeeds your estate. If you don’t want your heirs to fight over your property, and if you don’t want creditors to run after your estate, then you need to work with an Estate Planning Attorney as soon as possible. They can help protect your property from your creditors and they can also make sure that your will is carried out down to a tee. 

It’s important to learn how to protect your estate now that you’re still living simply because you worked hard for it. Since it is yours, you can freely dispose of it according to your wishes. Also, if you want to designate someone who is not a legitimate heir as a recipient of a parcel of land or piece of personal property, you can do so and make sure that it’s carried out once you’re no longer around. 

You see, an estate planner’s job is more than ministerial. They clearly understand that family members can turn against each other to protect their interests when it comes to properties. When these parcels of land, personal properties, and other material possessions are not properly partitioned, heirs often find themselves battling it all out in court to disprove the validity of a will or even petition for the quieting of title. All these can be avoided with estate planning before the supposed testator’s death. 

So, how else can your estate planning lawyer help you out? 

They protect your estate from being used as payment for corporate debts 

When you have a business or you’re one of the incorporators of a company that got dissolved due to supposed bankruptcy, the court can order the piercing of the corporate entity’s veil. In this case, the incorporators and businesses are considered ‘one and the same person,’ leading the court to garnish the former’s assets to repay corporate debt. If you’re no longer around to sort this matter out, your heirs might end up not getting a share of your estate. 

However, if you work with an estate planning lawyer, they can help you keep your corporate veil. During your lifetime, they can help you regularly update your corporate bylaws, issue shareholders’ stock, keep a transfer stock ledger, pay corporate taxes, and so on. They can also help ensure that your business has enough capital and that your limited liability companies (LLC) status is known. Any of these actions can ensure keeping the corporate veil unpierced. 

They keep your estate from being encumbered or sequestered 

A deceased person’s estate is usually divided into two — 50% for aliquot shares and another 50% as the free portion. The former accounts for the allocation of your heirs and payment of supposed debts from your creditors. On the other hand, the latter accounts for the portion that you can freely give out to any person or compulsory heir. If your creditors get all your wealth, the distribution of the same becomes useless. This is precisely why you need the help of an estate planner. 

To execute this plan, your estate planning attorney might suggest giving your lands to your heirs by a trust or outrightly. This act can keep your creditors from touching the real properties to satisfy your supposed debt to them. Aside from that, this act can also significantly reduce the amount of estate tax to be paid. Your lawyer will also make sure that such a transfer couldn’t be construed as ‘fraudulent conveyance.’ Otherwise, your efforts would go to waste. 

Aside from gifting as trust, your lawyer can also help you protect your home by placing it under tenancy by the entirety, homestead exemptions, or qualified personal residence trust (QPRT). There are plenty of ways for you to protect your estate; just ask your lawyer. 

All of these methods of protecting your property involves thorough planning. And when we say planning, that means during your lifetime, you need to work on these proactively. Consult an estate planning lawyer today and explore more options on securing the survival and transfer of your estate to your designated heirs, testate, or intestate.

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