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Understanding Estate Law

Estate law is that body of law which governs the management of personal affairs and the property acquired during one’s lifetime.

Estate law helps you determine the best way to make gifts to friends, family, and charitable organizations. Some gifts are better made during your lifetime.

For property you intend to bequeath to someone else, you may be unsure whether it’s better to make that bequest through a will or give the property to the other person or organization outright, or to create a trust for the beneficiary, or a living trust wherein you are the temporary beneficiary-or perhaps some combination.

An estate lawyer can help you untangle and explain the options available to you in terms of transfer of property rights, tax obligations, and other ramifications.

There isn’t necessarily one right answer for everyone, but an estate attorney will be able to lay out the pros and cons of each option as they apply to your particular situation.

If you don’t have a lot of property or plan to leave everything to your spouse, it may be that a simple will is all that’s required. You may even be able to hold property jointly with your spouse during your lifetime in a way that automatically transfers your interest upon your death.

If you’re not sure of the best way to provide for your family after your death, speak with an estate lawyer. Also, to avoid leaving behind heavy tax obligations for your family to contend with, talk to an estate lawyer and plan ahead.

Often, a few simple documents will protect your property and your family.

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