Estate planning refers to making arrangements for the disposal of an estate in the event of the owner’s death. The purpose of estate planning is to lessen the uncertainty involved in the process of probate, as well as to reduce estate taxes and other expenses that may be incurred. Estate planning includes making arrangements with regard to finances, personal property, and real estate, as well as designating guardians for beneficiaries in incapacity and minor children.
Estate planning devices include wills, beneficiary designations, trusts, property ownership, powers of appointment, powers of attorney, medical powers of attorney, and gifts. If a business is involved, the procedures to be followed regarding its ownership and operation will also be dealt with. Some people may even create a living will with specific final arrangements included. These devices are typically created with the counsel of an estate planning attorney, though some people choose to do so on their own. Complicated estates with multiple assets should always be handled by a professional, Los Angeles estate litigation attorney, however.
When family members of the deceased have disputes about the will or other estate planning devices, the parties involved will go to mediation in hopes of settling the issues. In mediation, all parties involved discuss plans for managing the estate and dividing the assets. Mediation is especially helpful for families with multiple marriages and step siblings, as estate disputes are common in these blended family situations. The goal of mediation is to lessen family conflict and meet financial goals.
If a dispute cannot been settled, full scale estate litigation will become necessary. One or more parties will sue the estate, and the matter will be settled in a court of law. At this point, the party who filed the lawsuit will most likely obtain counsel from an estate litigation attorney. This is an attorney that specializes in estate law and understands all of the intricate aspects of estate planning and its devices.
Choosing a Los Angeles estate litigation attorney is a very important process. The decision made could be the deciding factor in whether or not the case is won. When considering different attorneys for the job, one should take into account characteristics such as experience, reputation, and cost. It is essential that the attorney be well-educated with regard to estate planning and litigation. Finally, the personality of the attorney is also important. One should always choose an attorney with whom he or she feels compatible.