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Modern Estate Planning Blog

Elder Law & Special Needs Planning

But I Don’t Live on an Estate! | Fair Oaks Estate Planning Lawyers

August 8, 2014

There’s this mistaken notion that estate planning lawyers in Fair Oaks, CA often have to confront that the only people who need their services are the very wealthy. After all, the word “estate” conjures up images of mansions nestled among perfectly-manicured gardens alongside a garage filled with priceless automobiles. The average American simply doesn’t have an “estate,” right?

Actually, the average American does have an estate. While we may have grandiose ideas of what an estate is, your lawyer is far more concerned with the legal definition. In the eyes of the law, your “estate” is everything that you own. This includes real estate for sure, but any other assets are also a part of your estate.

When you die, your estate is subject to a variety of legal obligations, and working with an estate planning lawyer in Fair Oaks is the best way to minimize the impact of these obligations. The one-bedroom home in the city that you bought when you were newly married certainly isn’t the same as a sprawling mansion on a hillside, but it is still an estate. And, without legal guidance, the person with less is liable to actually have more to lose.

That’s because the ultra-rich person living in the lap of luxury has probably already worked with estate planning lawyers to set up a variety of trusts and other tools to protect his or her property. By maxing out gift allotments, making the right kinds of charitable donations, etc. this person can minimize the impact that taxes will have on the estate later. And putting assets into trusts allows for family business to stay private rather than going through the probate process, which becomes a part of the public record.

Fortunately, estate planning lawyers aren’t just for the wealthy. “Regular” folks can—and should—utilize their expertise by employing many of the same techniques, although maybe on a smaller scale. Just because they offer the same types of services doesn’t mean that a lawyer has to have a huge price tag, either. The fact of the matter is that a good estate planning lawyer in Fair Oaks will end up saving you many times over the initial cost of hiring a professional.

Finding the right estate planning lawyer in Fair Oaks should involve a bit of research. Take a look around the web, for example; but also listen to what friends and family have to say. How did they feel about their experience with a particular attorney? Would they recommend that person? Why or why not? Having a prepared list of questions to ask as you compare lawyers will also help you in narrowing down your options.  And, you’ll want to take advantage of an initial consultation, if available. This gives you a no-strings-attached opportunity to meet the different lawyers in person so you can get a feel for their style and whether or not you think you’d enjoy working together.

If you would be interested in meeting with an estate planning lawyer from our Fair Oaks office for a consultation to find out how we may be able to help you, please feel free to call us at (916) 241-9661 and mention this article.

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I was absolutely without a clue as to how to begin or what I should do to establish an estate plan. I did know that I wanted someone I could trust, that was honest and I would have confidence in. I was referred to Heather by my friend who was being legally advised by Heather on another estate. She was very satisfied with her work and thought I might be happy with her service. At our consultation appointment, her presentation was very thorough. I had lots of questions, and she was easy to talk to and was able to guide me to just the kind of estate plan I needed. That was 10 years ago. Due to circumstances in my life, I have had to make changes to my plan, and I always go back to her for her legal services and guidance. I have recommended Heather before.

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