Estate planning is usually seen as a field in which a single missing/misplaced signature or a wrong word can change the entire outcome and intent of a trust or will. In short, it is a serious business that doesn’t tolerate any mistakes!
On the other hand, statistics also show that roughly 50% of Americans do not have any basic estate planning documents and do not understand the advantages that come with a will or with an estate planning lawyer.
Even though you think you may be able to handle it all by yourself, without having to pay any lawyers, you’ll soon find that you are almost required to have one by your side when engaging in estate planning. One of the most important reasons to have such a lawyer with you is the fact that your family won’t have to deal with any issues you may create.
Let’s see exactly why you should hire an estate planning attorney!
State Laws rule Estate Planning
Naturally, given the fact that the laws of your state rule the estate planning process, as well as everything related to it, you will definitely want to have an attorney that knows all of those laws at your side.
The state laws mention everything about the aspects of state planning; namely, who can and cannot be in a will or trust, who can or cannot serve as a personal representative and so on.
For example, there are states in which your personal representative must be related to you by blood or marriage and a resident of that state as well. In short, if you appoint an attorney or a friend from out of state as your personal representative, they won’t be able to serve their purpose, leaving your family with a costly mistake that they will have to fix.
When filing your estate planning documents, you should consider whether they are valid or not. If you don’t have an attorney and have made the documents yourself, or downloaded them from the internet, then you may be in for a nasty surprise.
You should avoid preparing your estate planning on your own, especially if you have little to no idea as to what they mean. If your documents are deemed invalid, then your family will most likely have to spend thousands of dollars in order to fix your mistake and will have to use an estate planning attorney. You might as well just start by hiring one and avoid any kind of problem to begin with.
They Help you make Choices and Deal with Situations
Obviously, an estate planning attorney will be there to answer all of your questions and help you deal with any of your complex financial or family situations, as well as help you make choices regarding your assets, healthcare, finances and so on.
Here are some of the situations you may currently be in which should make you hire an estate planning attorney as soon as possible:
- You are the owner of one or more businesses
- You own real estate in more than just one state
- You recently divorced or are in a second or later marriage
- You don’t have any children
- You want to leave some of your estate to charity
- You have questions related to your choices regarding your assets
- You wish to prepare finances and healthcare for an emergency
- You want to avoid probate
- You wish to protect your children.
The Bottom Line
In short, an estate planning attorney is essential when you consider engaging in estate planning.
As mentioned before, this is not something that you should be doing on your own, mainly due to the various laws which vary by state and also because of certain situations that may have to be solved in a different, particular way that you are not aware of.
It is safe to say that your estate planning lawyer will provide you with all of the information you need and help you avoid making any mistakes that could later affect your family.