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Why do you need an attorney for estate planning cases?

Find out whether or not you need an attorney to create your Will or estate plans May 31, 2024

Most people don’t wonder if they need an attorney to develop, draft, and execute an estate plan. Most people recognize that estate planning is legal and seek professional legal advice and assistance to ensure they know what they need to know and do what they need to do in order to have their estate go the way they want. If this is you, feel free to contact us now. If you’re not sure if this is you or not, please continue reading. 

Like many people, I am a DIY’er. For some reason, I enjoy the satisfaction of doing things myself and saving a few dollars. However, like others, I recognize the limitations in my skill, time, and abilities to do all things. So, often I hire others for help. 

If you are a DIY’er, then you’ve probably asked yourself whether or not you need an attorney to help you plan your estate. You’ve probably asked a parent, sibling, or best friend what they’ve done. And certainly, you’ve searched on the internet and found blogs, videos, websites, and other information about what you should know and do. There is a lot of free information in the world today at our fingertips. There are also downloadable forms. As a practicing attorney, I seek these things out too. Everyone needs help from others, it all depends on how much you need. After doing these things, do you know sufficiently what to consider to plan your own estate, to know what you want, to know how to put it together, to find and use valid legal documents to achieve your goals, and to know how to execute your plan? If so, you will probably make a DIY Estate Plan. Be aware that you won’t know if you got it right or not because the use of estate planning happens upon incapacity and death. Therefore, I would advise a DIY’er who makes a DIY Estate Plan to have an experienced Estate Planning Attorney review and give feedback. 

If you’re not certain, please continue to read or contact us now. 

Many people get pointed in the right direction by financial advisors, tax accountants and CPAs, and other professionals. However, as they will tell you, they are not attorneys and they should encourage you to speak to an attorney. They do this because they know there are a lot of nuances both in planning an estate and administering an estate. Generally, our culture is not usually open regarding money, politics, and religion. Many people shy away from those conversations, and rightfully so. I would add that too few people talk about disability and death. Over 42 million people in the United States have disabilities. And everyone dies. "Failing to plan is planning to fail," as the saying goes. 

Planning with an experienced Estate Planning Attorney is an asset, as my clients say. Not all attorneys are the same. Estate Planning is best done with a North Carolina licensed Attorney who’s primary or sole focus is on Estate Planning. We can provide vital information about how to name trusted loved ones in your documents, what Probate is and whether you can or should avoid it, what a Trust is and how it could benefit you, how to address blended family situations, special needs, long-term care planning, taxes, creditors, divorce, funding your trust, and much more

Lastly, working with an experienced Estate Planning Attorney who you can trust and support you throughout your lifetime is important. Many firms use administrative staff, legal assistants, paralegals, and junior associate attorneys to serve their estate planning clients because they have scripted questions and templates. Don’t be fooled, working with a law firm is not the same as working with an experienced Estate Planning Attorney. When investigating who to work with, make sure to ask how much time you will spend with the attorney and how much time the attorney will spend on your case, particularly compared to the law firm’s support staff.

Either way, make a plan! If you don’t, the government provides one for you through the guardianship process and the Intestate Succession Act. Like most governmental services, these are important but they are not the best. Keep in mind that an invalid DIY Estate Plan, or invalid parts of a DIY Estate Plan, is no plan in the eyes of the law.

I have had several clients whose deceased loved one did a Will but it was not valid. I even had a client who attempted to make a written wish to be cremated but one of his three children disagreed, requiring a judge to intervene. These problems are avoidable, and easily avoided when you plan with an experienced Estate Planning Attorney

We would be delighted to have an attorney talk with you about your circumstances and serve you in your efforts to plan your estate. Feel free to contact us.