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4 Reasons to Hire an Estate Planning Attorney

Most people don’t want to think about death, and this is one of the main reasons why estate planning often gets put off for prolonged periods of time. Another reason people put off this important job is because they think that estate planning is only for the very wealthy. According to, over 30% of people without a will don’t believe they have enough wealth to leave behind. In reality, this is a crucial type of future planning that everyone needs to take care of, no matter how much money you have and no matter how uncomfortable it makes you. An estate planning attorney can help you with this challenging task. Here are a few benefits of working with this professional.

1. Estate Planning Knowledge

You should work with a lawyer because they will have the estate planning knowledge necessary to get your affairs in order. There are a lot of legal details that go into even a simple will with few assets. If you have more assets or a good bit of wealth, it’s even more important that you have your details in order. This can prevent any confusion or legal issues in the future when you pass away.

2. Professional Advice

Another important service that an estate planning attorney can provide to you is professional advice. Estate planning involves many moving parts and one size doesn’t fit all. This professional will be able to offer you advice based on your particular set of circumstances. They may be able to answer complicated questions for you and help guide you on what decisions would be best for your wealth, assets, and other topics.

3. Industry Resources and Connections

In addition to the above-mentioned benefits, an attorney will also have access to industry resources that can make estate planning easier and simplified. They will have access to professional connections in other industries that may be able to assist you.

4. A Helping Hand Along the Way

One of the most beneficial things that an attorney can offer you is a helping hand along the way. For many people, estate planning is an emotional task. You are forced to take inventory of your entire life and face the reality of death. These are heavy topics to handle. These professionals have spent years helping people walk this path and they can help you too.

These are just a few of the benefits you’ll see when you hire an estate planning attorney. If you’re looking for legal professionals in your area, please contact us today at Ketlinski Law Office, PLLC.

How to Find the Right Estate Planning Attorney for You

Obviously no one wants to think too much about death, but ignoring future planning tasks surrounding your death is a big mistake. Estate planning consists of all of the plans you need to make for your affairs to be handled once you pass away. Taking care of estate planning early in life is helpful for your family or friends who will attempt to handle your end-of-life details. According to Caring, about 60% of Americans have a retirement account, but only about 30% have an estate plan in place. An estate planning attorney can help you. Here are a few tips on choosing a good estate planning lawyer.

Ask Friends and Family for References

Word of mouth is still a great form of advertising. You should talk to friends and family members who have already successfully completed their estate planning. Ask them who they used and who they would not recommend. Sometimes it’s important to know who to avoid as well.

Read Reviews

Review sites can be extremely helpful when you are looking for a new business or service. Law firms get reviewed just like any other business. Look for reviews on reputable review sites such as Google reviews or legal review sites.

Schedule a Consultation

The really only tried and true way to know if you’ll like an attorney is to meet with them personally. You can schedule a consultation with an estate planning attorney in your area. These professionals will sit down with you discuss your goals and explain how their services work.

During the consultation, you should ask plenty of questions. You’ll want to know how much experience they have, and how long they’ve been doing estate planning. You’ll also want to get specific information concerning payments and how fees are handled.

Be Prepared

When you finally decide on an estate planning attorney, you need to be prepared with your information and the goals you hope for them to assist you with. There will be some work needed on your part to collect the necessary documents and information to pass on to the lawyer. They will be able to take this information and create a secure estate plan for you.

If you’re ready to get started on estate planning, please contact our law office today at Ketlinski Law Office, PLLC. Our team of legal professionals is ready to assist you.

How to Talk to Loved Ones About Estate Planning

Talking to a loved one about estate planning can be a challenging and emotional topic. Many people don’t like to discuss the topic of a loved one’s mortality, but it’s essential to ensure that your loved one’s estate is handled exactly how they would like. Follow these tips and tricks when discussing this topic.

Pick a Time and Place

There’s a time and place for everything. Taking your loved one to an estate planning lawyer and expecting them to be open to the conversation immediately is not the way to do that. Instead, choose an ideal time, such as mid-afternoon. This should be a private conversation, not one held in a restaurant or at a family get-together. Consider meeting with a family member at their home for brunch to discuss that it’s time to start estate planning.

Always Show Compassion

Talking about estate planning forces someone to confront their own mortality. This can be challenging and upsetting for anyone who has not yet faced this inevitable fact. Because of that, it’s essential always to show compassion. Be considerate if a loved one is not ready to discuss the topic, and ensure you work with a compassionate estate planning lawyer. You don’t want this to be an upsetting time.

Don’t Mention Inheritance

When planning an estate with a loved one, asking about your or other people’s inheritance can be tempting. You may want to discuss the details of that and give your opinions. However, it’s important to remember that this should be your loved one’s decision. Instead of asking about inheritances, encourage them to sit with an experienced attorney or unbiased party to discuss them.

Outline Its Importance

Instead, it’s essential to focus on how important estate planning is. Remind your loved one that everyone should take the time to plan their estate properly. This applies to everyone of every age because we never know what will happen. Proper planning can instantly resolve family disputes long before they happen. Mention statistics to show them the importance. For example, according to LegalZoom, 77% of American adults believe that estate planning is important for everyone, regardless of their wealth.

Working with an estate planning lawyer can help you learn how to broach this topic with a loved one. We have a team of dedicated, compassionate professionals that will work with you and your loved one. Contact us at Ketlinski Law Office, PLLC if you need help discussing this delicate topic.

5 Reasons Estate Planning Is Good for Your Mental Health

Estate planning is an important part of life that a lot of people ignore. According to LegalZoom, only 18% of Americans over the age of 55 have an estate plan. Here are five benefits you can enjoy when you hire an estate planning attorney.

1. Avoid Family Problems

Disputes among family members are common when an estate is being settled, but it doesn’t have to be that way. When you have a will and a thorough estate plan, you can designate beneficiaries so nobody has to fight over what they’re getting from your estate.

2. Protect Young Children

The loss of a loved one can be especially difficult for young children and the guardianship process can be complicated. Designating somebody as the legal guardian of young children in the event that their parents pass can make things a lot easier.

3. Take Care of Everything Beforehand

You don’t want to spend some of the last days of your life figuring out your estate plan to make things easier for your family. Taking the time to work with an attorney now means you don’t have to worry about estate planning later on. This allows you to focus your energy on spending time with loved ones.

4. Protect Beneficiaries

There are a lot of potential issues that can arise when it comes to settling an estate. An estate planning attorney can help prevent your family members from having to pay expensive lawyer fees. You can also make a plan to minimize the taxes your family has to pay on your estate.

5. Enjoy Peace of Mind

With everything going on in life, it’s easy to worry. Stress can cause a lot of physical and mental health problems, so planning your estate is a good way to enjoy some peace of mind while you’re still healthy. There’s no reason to waste time worrying about what could happen. You don’t have to with a good estate plan!

So many people go through life without an estate plan, but even a simple estate plan can save your family and loved ones so much trouble. If you don’t have an estate plan, call Ketlinski Law Office, PLLC to connect with an estate planning attorney to start working on your will.

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5 Questions to Ask at Your Next Estate Planning Consultation

What will happen to your estate after you’re gone? It can be difficult to ask yourself this question, but planning for the future is the best thing you can do for your loved ones. According to Legal Zoom, over 40% of young adults don’t know what’s written in their parents’ wills. Don’t let your family wonder about your wishes. Ask these questions when you talk to estate planning attorneys to ensure that you’re prepared for the future.

1. What’s Included in an Estate Plan?

Don’t make assumptions about what is and isn’t included in an estate plan. Check with your attorneys to confirm that your plan includes important documents. The documents that should be a part of your estate plan include a will, a living will, and power of attorney. If you have minor children, your plan should also include guardianship documents.

2. Do You Handle Probate?

When a will is contested, probate courts must approve the documents before dividing assets. Ideally, your estate planning lawyer should include probate in their practice. Working with an attorney familiar with probate proceedings can prevent your assets from being tied up in court.

3. How Will You Keep My Estate Plan Current?

Many people begin working with estate planning attorneys when they’re still fairly young. Your assets may change over time. Confirm that your lawyer can adapt to these changes and update your documents as needed.

4. Who Will Execute My Estate Plan?

The executor of an estate is the person who will carry out the wishes you’ve outlined in your will and other documents. Talk with your attorneys about how your plan will be executed. Don’t be afraid to ask them tough questions about what the estate process will look like.

5. How Will My Estate Be Taxed?

Creating an estate plan helps ensure that your wishes are honored after you’re gone. That’s why it’s wise to talk with your attorney about how taxes will affect your plan. While there’s no federal inheritance tax in the United States, some states have estate and inheritance taxes. Ask your attorney about these taxes and any taxes associated with real estate transfers.

Working with estate planning attorneys can give you peace of mind, especially if you ask the right questions. It can be hard to think about what will happen after you pass away, but tackling these problems while you’re still here is worthwhile. Contact Ketlinksi Law Office, PLLC today to schedule an estate planning consultation.

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What Does an Estate Planner Do?

One of the most difficult realities of life is death. But it’s a topic we must confront. Preparation for passing not only gives folks peace of mind in the sunset years but also ensures that their legacy lives on after they’re gone. An estate planner is crucial in ensuring that there’s a proper transition of ownership of assets after you’re gone. According to LegalZoom, only 18% of Americans ages 55 and above have an exit plan such as a will, advance healthcare directive, or even durable power of attorney. Here’s why you should consider an estate planner to assist you with this process.

Distribution of Assets

One of the main duties of an estate planner is to determine how an individual’s assets will be preserved, managed, and distributed after their death or in the event they become incapacitated. Planning for this ensures that there’s a peaceful transition after their death. Failure to use an estate planner might lead to fights, misunderstandings, and even the failure of your estates. Instead of letting your offspring and interested parties fight for your estates, it’s wise to engage the services of an estate planner to ensure that there’s peace in the family after you’re gone.

Setting Up Trusts and Charitable Donations

Another duty of an estate planner is to set up trusts and charitable donations. You may want to put money into trusts or charitable organizations that benefit humanity. Charity donations also limit your taxes. You also should name executors and beneficiaries. An estate manager can also help you set up funeral arrangements if you don’t want to burden loved ones with funeral expenses.

Custody of Children

If you have children who are not of legal age to stay on their own, the estate manager can help you decide on who will be their guardian until they’re of legal age to move out. You can set up trust funds to ensure that your children are well taken care of in every stage of their lives. The estate planner can help guarantee that your children feel your warmth even after you’re gone.

From writing a will to finding proper ways of managing your property, an estate planner is important in ensuring that your family is comfortable after your passing. Death is a hard thing but a reality for everyone. It’s prudent for everyone to prepare for it by engaging an estate planner. Contact Ketlinksi Law Office to learn more today.

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Why Do You Need a Will?

A will is a legally binding document that dictates who inherits your estate and how an estate planning lawyer divides it. It is a legal contract that ensures your loved ones are acting per your wishes regarding your property in the event of death. Thus, a will is a critical element of estate planning. According to, many people between 18 to 34 years are more likely to have a will compared to people ranging from 35 to 54 years in 2021 for the first time. The following explains why you need to have a will.

A Will Speeds Up the Probate Process

When you die without a will, it can cause problems for the family members you leave behind. Without a will, your state presumes that you want to leave everything to your closest living relative, which means your spouse. If there is no surviving spouse or children, everything goes to the parents. If there is no one in your immediate family, then the next generation of children inherit everything. This process can take several months, if not years, and requires court appearances and formal paperwork. With the help of an estate planning lawyer, a will takes care of this problem.

A Will Provides Trustworthy Record Keeping

The will becomes a legal document when you work with an estate planning lawyer to write it. That means that your loved ones inherit less if they cannot prove that you did leave them everything. The probate process can be time-consuming and complicated when finding paperwork, even if the lawyer does not have any reason to suspect anything is wrong. Having a will prevents a long search for documents and allows your loved one to follow your wishes without trouble.

A Will Protects Your Loved Ones

There are several possible outcomes of dying without a will. One possibility is that your estate could be divided into smaller parts for your family. This means that each person could receive less than what they would have if you had left them money in your will. Protecting them from getting less than they deserve is another reason you need a will.

There are many reasons why you need a will. Primarily, making a will gives you peace of mind legally. It helps you split up your assets and gives your loved ones inheritances once you are gone. The document ensures that your property goes to the people or organizations of your choice when you can no longer make those decisions. If you are embarking on writing your will, contact us today. We can provide you with estate planning lawyer services to help you with this.

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5 Important Reasons Why You Need Estate Planning Services

If you have any assets, you want to have control over what happens to them when you die. This is why estate planning is so important. By working with a lawyer and creating a plan ahead of time, you can do as much as possible to make sure your wishes are carried out. In fact, LegalZoom states that 77% of American adults believe estate planning is important, no matter how much money you have. Here are five reasons why you need estate planning services.

Protect Your Loved Ones

If you have family relying on you for financial support, you want to be sure they’ll be safe when you’re gone. Estate planning allows you to put a legal plan into action to ensure this happens. Your lawyer can help you decide on the best option.

Avoid Extra Taxes

There’s a chance that some of your assets will be taken as taxes. However, there are ways to make sure that you don’t pay more than you have to. Estate planning services can help you figure out your tax responsibilities. This will allow your loved ones to keep more of your assets, giving them more security.

Reduce Infighting

While there’s always a chance that family members will disagree on what to do, having a will should reduce the amount of infighting that happens. If you have wealth, make sure that your wishes are clear and legally validated. This will give family members clear instructions on how your assets should be divided.

Avoid Probate Court

Probate is the legal process of carrying out a will. If there are any problems with this process, the courts might have to get involved. This is a stressful situation in an already upsetting time for your loved ones. Estate planning can help them avoid this.

Peace of Mind

Estate planning is also a good way to take care of yourself. Once everything is legally settled, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your wishes will be carried out. From there, you can relax and live the rest of your life without worrying about it too much.

If you haven’t planned out what will happen to your assets when you die, you need to do so. Estate planning services can help you through the legal process and guide you toward the best decisions for you and your loved ones. So make sure you hire someone and start the process.

What to Include in a Letter of Instruction

A letter of instruction can be a beneficial piece in estate planning. It is an informal document that will give your loved ones important information about personal and financial matters after your death. Letters of instruction are not legally binding and do not replace your need for a will or a living trust, however it can be a nice complement to those documents. The informal nature allows you to create the letter on your own and change it whenever necessary. It is important to keep the letter up to date, as life circumstances change over time. Let’s look at some of the information that may be included in a letter of instruction.

1. Funeral and Burial Arrangements

The first thing you may want to include in your letter of intent is information about your funeral and burial arrangements. Be sure to include any plans you’ve already made, or what your wishes are as this can be very beneficial to grieving family members. Information about the type of funeral service you’d like, including who should officiate the service and special things to be included like music selections, can be a part of your letter of instruction. If you prefer to be cremated rather than buried, be sure to include that in your letter.

Another helpful inclusion would be a list of people you want to be contacted when you pass, and contact information if available. You may also include your wishes for donations to specific charities in your memory.

2. Financial Information

Information about your bank accounts, assets you hold title to, and other accounts can greatly help family members when trying to carry out the provisions of your estate plan. Be sure to include names and phone numbers of professionals who can help locate your accounts or who helped you plan. The location of other important documents should also be included with the letter of intent. These could include but are not limited to birth certificates, social security account information or statements, marriage license, divorce documents, and military paperwork. In addition, be sure to leave behind information related to mortgages and other debts.

3. Digital Information

These days, many of our accounts have transitioned to the digital world. Therefore, leaving behind information about your digital assets in your letter of intent becomes more important. This should include usernames and passwords for digital accounts, social media accounts, and the devices themselves. It is important not to leave family members guessing on this information.

4. Personal Items

Personal items can be a source of contention among family members when a loved one dies. A letter of intent can provide details about who will receive personal effects, including collections, important personal items, and other things that may not have monetary value, but do have sentimental value. In this section you can also include information about the care of the pets you may leave behind. This section of your letter may include personal statements about your wishes and hopes for the future and can address specific family members.

A letter of intent can be a very real source of peace and comfort to your family members in their time of grief. It can be difficult to think about getting started on a letter of this nature, as none of us like to think about our own death. However, if you consider the items to include and create a plan, a letter of intent can often write itself. Taking this step can alleviate much stress and many family squabbles about what you leave behind.

A letter of intent is an important piece of your overall estate plan and should be written with the help of an attorney to make sure the letter compliments and does not contradict your estate plan. If you would like help creating your estate plan or a letter of intent, please feel free to contact us.

You Have a Will, is That Enough?

Roughly half of all Americans don’t have a will, so if you’ve already taken this vital step to protect your assets and successors then congratulations are in order – you’re already ahead of the curve. While a will is a necessary document that every person who owns assets should have, it is still a relatively simple document that may not cover everything you want it to. You may want to consider creating an estate plan that involves the use of a living trust, plus other important documents like a power of attorney for finances and health care directives. 

To over-simplify it, an estate plan is a more comprehensive way than a will to instruct how your estate is to be distributed after your death, and how your assets should be managed if you become disabled and unable to make financial or health care decisions. Estate plans can save you and your successors substantial amounts of money in court costs, legal fees, and taxes. Consider the following items when creating an estate plan:

Do you have/are you expecting children? This is one of the most important factors to consider when creating an estate plan. Beyond appointing a guardian to take care of minor children, you may also need to appoint a conservator who will manage the assets your successor(s) will inherit when they reach the age of majority.

You may have assets that already contain a beneficiary designation such as a transfer on death (TOD) account. If not, then your will may be used to instruct who will receive such assets.

Minimize probate and maximize privacy. An estate plan that uses a living trust will allow your heirs to move through the administration process as quickly and efficiently as possible. With only a will, a process called probate must be used at your death. Information brought forward in probate court is public knowledge and all of the terms of your will plus the assets you own will become part of the public record. Also, probate can be very expensive. Even an uncontested probate could take longer than a year to pass through probate court and attorney’s fees and court costs can start to add up. Constructing an estate plan with an attorney before probate can help avoid most of these costs and loss of privacy.

Consider your digital information. One thing that’s often forgotten, but necessary in today’s digital age, is what happens to your online information after you die? Many of our day-to-day activities are conducted online and this may present issues for your family after you die. For example, if you invest or bank online, it can be an incredible hassle for your heirs to decode your online financial life. Consider storing your passwords in a safe place and then give access through a power of attorney to someone you trust who will be able to help your family manage your online footprint. An estate planning attorney will be able to sit down with you and go through your online accounts and help you decide which ones will need attention in the event of your death or disability.

Location and size of your estate. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 doubled the size of the federal estate tax exemption to $11.2 million for a married couple. That means unless your estate is larger than $11.2 million, you may be exempt from paying federal taxes on it. However, depending on where you live you may be subject to state-level estate taxes. Idaho does not, but there are currently 17 other states, and the District of Columbia, that impose some sort of estate or inheritance tax.

There are many other factors to consider when constructing an estate plan, some of which can be complicated. Please do not hesitate to reach out to our office if you wish to meet with an estate planning attorney to discuss how best to protect your legacy.