How can a lawyer help me with my estate plan?
How can a lawyer help me with my estate plan? Far too many people make the decision to create their own will, trust, or other estate planning document by using an internet form. This is almost always a mistake. Estate planning is serious business; one wrong word, one missing signature, one wrong date, and the entire intent of the will or Trust could be altered. Since state laws govern estate plans, estate lawyers are likely to be among the few people who actually know these laws.
Estate planning attorneys know who can and cannot be listed in a will or trust, who can and cannot serve as a personal representative, attorney in fact, health care surrogate or trustee. Estate planning attorneys know who can witness a will or trust, and who can witness a medical or financial power of attorney. Finally, estate planning attorneys are cognizant of all the necessary formalities which must be observed when an estate plan—or any component thereof—is prepared.
Those who believe they will save a bit of cash by using Internet forms may find—at the most inopportune time—that sometimes in life you really do get what you pay for. You may believe you have taken care of your loved ones in the very best way possible. However, upon your death, it could turn out that part or all of your will, trust, medical power of attorney or durable power of attorney, is invalid due to a simple mistake. A lawyer can help you with your estate plan and is also an invaluable resource when you need to sort out complex situations in your life, such as:
- A second or subsequent marriage;
- You have minor children, an adult child with a disability, or “problem” children;
- You are the owner of one or more businesses;
- You own real estate in more than one state;
- You have no children;
- You have significant assets in IRAs or 401(k)s;
- You recently divorced;
- Your spouse recently died;
- You want to leave some of your assets to charity, or
- You have a taxable estate.