We might not like to think about it, but a day will come when we’re no longer here. When you’re no longer able to manage your own affairs for any reason, you’ll still want to make sure that your will is enacted.Most people know that it’s important to have a will, but they don’t realize how important it is to have an estate lawyer involved in the planning process.If you want to be sure that everything will hold up in a court of law, or even if you just want a second opinion, an attorney is always worth the investment. Read on for seven reasons you should hire an estate planning attorney.
Estate planning…is it on your to-do list?Are you ready to join the 40% of Americans who already have an estate plan?Though many of us realize that estate planning is important, a lot of us never get around to doing it.If you want to prepare for your future and provide for your family, you need to get your affairs in order via an estate plan.Before you jump in head first though, there are some estate planning tips you should know. Let’s take a look at some of the more important ones.
What is Estate Planning?The estate planning definition is fairly simple and it is more than having a will. It is the transference of a person’s wealth and assets after the person passes. It also includes provisions in which a family member is given power of attorney should you become incapacitated or unable to control your assets and estate.Assets include life insurance, personal belongings, pension, property, and vehicles. Debt is also included in a person’s estate.Once an estate plan is made, the owner of the estate signs it and notarizes it in order for it to hold up in a legal proceeding.
Estate Planning TipsNow that you know what an estate plan is, it’s time to get started with yours. Here are the tips that will help you create an estate planning checklist.
1. Choose a Qualified Estate Planner or TeamEstate planning is not just worrying about who gets what when you die. It is also taking your assets that you have now and helping them grow into something to leave behind.You’ll want to meet with an attorney who deals specifically with estate planning, a financial advisor and a tax professional. Each one can help you find the best way to handle the specifics of your estate.Attorney – Knows federal and state laws regarding the setting up of trusts and wills.Financial Advisor-Will help you with investing and planning for your retirement years.Tax Professional-Knows tax laws and can help minimize the income taxes that your beneficiary will be required to pay on the inheritance.
2. Designate Who Gets WhatDo you have expensive jewelry or a sports car? To whom would you want those to go in the event of your death? This is where a will comes in.Without a will, your assets may end up in probate or go to whomever the law says they will go. In most cases, it is an immediate family member.If you are married, this means your spouse. If not, your assets would go to your parents or children if you have them.
3. Add a Life Insurance Policy to Cover TaxesIf your beneficiary is going to be expected to pay a large sum of income or estate tax, add a life insurance policy that will cover these taxes.Life insurance proceeds are tax-free, believe it or not. Say you know that your spouse will owe $100,000 in estate taxes, purchase a life insurance policy that will pay $100,000 upon your death and your spouse can use that money to pay the IRS.
4. Specify How You Want Money to be SpentIf you have a child who you know will blow all of his inheritance in six months, it is a good idea to specify how you want the money spent.If you’d like the money to be used to pay for college, hold it in trust until that time. If you would like to provide for specific needs of each individual, spell that out as well.At the very least, leave a letter of intent to the executor of your will or beneficiary. In this letter, you may list what to do with each of your assets. You may also include funeral arrangements in this document.
5. Designate Guardians for Young ChildrenIf you have or are planning to have children, it is important to choose a guardian or guardians for them.Choosing the right person is important because you want your children to have a stable, financially sound person raising them if you should pass while they are young.It is also advised that you choose a backup guardian as well.Talk it over with whomever you choose and make sure you are all on the same page with regards to your children.Without this designation, your children could end up with family members that you would not want. In the worst case, they could end up wards of the state.
6. Avoid Estate and Income TaxesIf you don’t want the majority of your estate to go to taxes, do what you can to minimize income and estate taxes.One idea is to gift money to your beneficiaries while you are still living. You can give up to $13,000 of nontaxable money to each individual. There is an added bonus of seeing your loved ones enjoy the money while you’re alive.Another strategy is to leave taxable income to a charity of your choice and leave the nontaxable assets like life insurance to your beneficiaries.
7. Power of AttorneyA power of attorney is important in case you are unable to make decisions regarding your financial or health matters.A power of attorney is a document that gives a person or sometimes an organization the legal power to take care of your affairs and act on your behalf should you become incapacitated.There are different types, such as the healthcare power of attorney and durable power of attorney. Speak to an estate planner regarding which type you will need.
Is it Time to Get Your Affairs in Order?Now that you’ve learned some estate planning tips, do you feel ready to take on the job of planning for your estate? It will give you and your loved ones peace of mind. Reach out to us with any questions you may have. With over 30 years of experience, we’re here to help.
No matter what relationship you have with the people on your job, never lose sight of one fact — it’s business. Your workplace should be a fulfilling place where your dreams come true, but you must also look after your rights and interests. In doing this, having access to an employment attorney is crucial. These lawyers are useful in a number of ways, for both employees and employers. To learn how they can help you out, read the points below.
Protecting Your Rights as an EmployeeAnytime you step foot on a job, you need to be able to keep your employer honest. Having a quality employment attorney by your side can help you in that regard. Here are a few core ways in which they can be useful to you:
1. Filing a Wrongful Termination SuitThere are a number of laws in place that protect your rights as an employee. These rights are covered under provisions like the Equal Pay Act, Pregnancy Discrimination Act, Americans With Disabilities Act, and other matters. However, when these rights are violated, you’ll need the help of a credible lawyer to assist you. They’ll use these laws as a foundation to help you when you get fired or laid off unlawfully.
2. You Feel That You’re Unfairly Treated or Wrongfully DisciplinedAside from being terminated unlawfully, there are a number of ways that you can be mistreated while on the job. There are situations in which you may feel that your boss has it out for you, or is treated you differently than other employees. This can be difficult to prove, which is why building a case with a lawyer and collecting data become so crucial. You will need to be especially mindful of situations where your rights are violated due to wrongful discipline or bogus performance reviews. Having access to an employment attorney can be just what you need in this regard.
3. Investigations Into a Toxic Work EnvironmentA toxic work environment isn’t just a matter of law, it’s a serious health issue. In fact, Standford research studies show that this is the 5th leading cause of death.If these studies are to be believed, existing in a toxic work environment beats out serious issues like kidney disease and Alzheimer’s. You’ll need to have a lawyer on hand that can not only prove that a workplace is toxic but get you justly compensated in the process.
4. Claims of Sexual Harassment, Racial Discrimination, and Other MattersIssues like sexual harassment and racial discrimination need to be handled vigilantly. You’ll only be able to do this when you have a lawyer documenting these issues with you every step of the way. They’ll assist you in figuring out what to say to human resources, will come up with proof that allows you to win your case, and will make sure that you get the proper amount of compensation.
5. You Get Hurt or Sick on the JobWorkers compensation claims are among the most prevalent issues that employment attorneys address. They’ll assist you in filing a claim and getting you paid for the long-term. This includes getting money for initial doctor’s visits and handling everything from lost wages to long-term recovery through physical therapy.
Protecting Your Rights as an EmployerDon’t think that employees are the only people that have rights. If you have people on your payroll, you and your business can also make use of an employment attorney. Keeping an eye on corporate law matters will allow you to thrive as a business. These are some of the major ways that such an attorney can be useful to you.
1. Protection Against Wrongful Termination and Other CasesHaving access to an employment attorney can help you out when your employees are filing suit against you. Even though you may have had every reason to fire someone or lay them off, there may come a time that you have to back this up in court. Getting access to a great lawyer can be useful so that you have the right representation.
2. Putting Together Severance PackagesThough layoffs are an unfortunate reality of doing business at times, you’ll want to leave your employees with severance packages that compensate them accordingly. In this regard, you’ll want to create severance packages that allow them to get a one-time payout and other benefits that give them a great landing place. Your lawyer will help you create the right severance package so that your employees are happy, and this can help you avoid litigation for the long-term.
3. Constructing Workplace PolicyYou will always want to be on the right side of the law when it comes to your workplace. Having access to a great lawyer can make this happen. This will deal with everything from vacation days and sick leave to holiday bonuses. When you have your attorneys guidance, you’ll make sure that your policies are lawful and ethically sound.
4. Help Crafting Contracts and Benefits Packages For New EmployeesIt’s always important to have another set of eyes when hiring any employees. A good attorney will help you put together the contracts and offers of employment that are legally sound. They’ll also let you know what you can do from a benefits standpoint.
5. Doing Your Due Diligence With Workers Compensation ClaimsFinally, you’ll need an attorney also when you want to be on the right side of a workers compensation case. Your lawyer will investigate your employee’s situation to make sure it is legitimate and will ensure that you’re not overpaying. By having these lawyers on your side, they’ll make sure you are protected.
Hire an Employment Attorney When You Need Them the MostNo matter what side of the situation you’re on, it’s important to have access to a great lawyer. These ten points lay out exactly what these lawyers can do for you. When you need an employment attorney that is diligent, mindful, and skilled, contact us today!
When most people go to work, they don’t expect to get hurt. Unfortunately, it’s not always up to them.Personal injury incidents happen all the time. In fact, there’s a workplace injury every seven seconds.As you can expect, you’re going to need solid personal injury lawyers if you intend to get the appropriate amount of compensation.Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, we got you covered.Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about why hiring an experienced legal professional is the best course of action after a personal injury.
NegotiationIt’s not often that people want to pay for something. This is especially true if someone else is telling them that they have to pay.When you’re seeking compensation after a workplace injury, the responsible party is going to do everything they can to make sure they pay as little as possible. This even means going as far as avoiding paying anything at all.But, a competent attorney can use their negotiation skills to get as much money from your employer as possible. Additionally, your attorney will prevent your employer or their legal representatives from trying to convince you that they’re not to blame or that your injuries are too insignificant to pursue damages for.
Their Compensation Depends on YoursSince your lawyer will take a cut of the amount you win from your settlement, it’s in their best interest to secure the largest amount possible.The convenience of avoiding upfront fees will allow you to focus on your recovery after your incident. Additionally, many legal professionals will take the necessary legal fees out of your settlement, as well.Depending on the case, some attorneys may take a significant chunk out of the money that you win. The alternative, however, is attempting to negotiate yourself, which is never a viable option for most people.
Handling The Discovery PhaseSo, you’ve decided to seek compensation for your workplace injury. As you should, as this amount can occasionally be awarded in millions.But, what happens when your employer refuses to pay? Or even worse, they claim that they’re not at fault for what happened to you?From here, it’ll need to be proven that their negligence is what resulted in your injuries. As you can expect, this isn’t the easiest task, and most people will have no idea where to start.During the discovery phase, it’s up to you and your attorney to gather the appropriate information for your claim. The better the supporting evidence, the more likely you’ll come out on top.Your attorney will know exactly what to look for in order to give you the best chance possible of securing a claim. Depending on the situation, they’ll be able to gather evidence like:
- Security camera footage
- Eyewitness testimony
- An official statement from the defending party that affirms or denies the claim
- Other situational evidence that is relevant to the case
Reduced StressAs previously mentioned, a quality legal professional will do everything they can to make sure that you get the compensation that you deserve.Foregoing this burden is sure to maximize your quality of life during the negotiation/investigation process. This can be an invaluable occurrence if your injuries are particularly debilitating.Furthermore, increased stress will only lead to a longer recovery and could potentially cause further complications when it comes to your health. These can include:
- Weight gain
- Mood swings
- Insomnia or altered sleep patterns
Capability to Go to TrialAs previously mentioned, people aren’t always so quick to be compliant when it comes to personal injury cases. This becomes increasingly true with the higher amount of compensation that you seek.But, an experienced attorney can handle stubborn employers by going to trial and letting a judge decide.It’s also important to understand that the other side (especially owners of large businesses) is going to come with a solid legal team. That’s why finding the right legal professional is so important. With adequate representation in the courtroom, you stand a fighting chance against those who are in the way of your compensation.
What to Look For in An AttorneyExperience and competency are the most important attributes to consider. This isn’t to say, however, that an attorney who’s only been practicing for five years couldn’t handle your case.An attorney who has won a large number of cases that are similar to yours would be a solid choice when making your decision. Since not every case can be settled out of court, the number of times they’ve got to trial is also a factor that you should keep in mind.Lastly, firms with a solid team have more resources to handle cases than practices with only a handful of people working, meaning they can work more efficiently for you.
Finding the Right Personal Injury Lawyers Can Seem DifficultBut it doesn’t have to be.With the above information about personal injury lawyers in mind, you’ll be well on your way to a great fit.Have a personal injury case you need legal assistance with? Feel free to get in touch with us and see what we can do for you.
More blog articles coming soon about litigation, real estate law, personal injury attorneys in Omaha and more!