Much of the estate planning process is easy enough for a layman to understand. Many people choose to draft their own wills and other estate planning documents. There is an abundance of low-cost options that help people write wills without the supervision of an attorney. Unfortunately, many of these options are inferior to having a professional create your estate plan with you. A poorly written will can have disastrous consequences. A lawyer can make sure your will meets the standards of the probate court and reflects your wishes.
Understanding Your Options
This is not to say you should not educate yourself. The more you learn about estate planning, the more options you will see are available. Also, it will be cheaper and faster to draft estate planning documents if you already have a good idea of what you want and need. However, estate planning can be complicated. A good attorney will understand your options and be able to explain them to you. For a larger or more complex estate, there are trusts that can be difficult to set up but save money in estate taxes. You’ll want an attorney to assure everything is setup correctly.
Knowing State Laws
Laws differ from state to state. Websites often provide forms that do not take into account the nuances of difference of laws between states. State laws are different regarding what needs to be included in a will. Internet forms can be a helpful guide, but they are usually overly general for your needs. If you are not familiar with the estate planning laws of your state, you may miss something that might come back later. An attorney who works in estate planning likely handles hundreds of wills and can quickly identify what clauses and phrases are needed and which are superfluous. An attorney will also have an understanding of the probate laws in your state and you can be confident that the finished product will be the necessary standards.
Getting A Notary
A will and related documents generally requires notarization. Most attorneys have a notary in their office and will be able to take of that for you right then and there. Otherwise, notaries can be difficult to find. It is unlikely an attorney would be willing to notarize a document they had no part in preparing.
Some common things you may want to ask yourself before attempting your own estate plan:
- Do I have minor children that I want to appoint a caretaker for?
- Do I want to prevent an ex-spouse or irresponsible child from inheriting my assets?
- Do I own a business that I would like to hand down?
These issues frequently bring extra complication. The De Bruin Law Firm can help develop your estate plan. De Bruin has years of experience helping clients plan the distribution of their assets and their end-of-life healthcare. Make sure that the assets you have spent your life working for are distributed according to your wishes. Contact us today.