If you are considering planning your estate, you may be enticed by the idea of doing it yourself to save money. Many websites offer “simple” solutions and forms that can be purchased for less than an attorney. These forms are usually over-generalized and may not be legally viable for your unique situation. Estate planning is a complex, difficult, legal-intensive process. One wrong word or missing signature can void your entire estate plan. With an estate planning attorney there to help, you can be much more confident that any resulting trusts and documents will be tailored to your exact situation. It is all too common that someone plans their estate poorly without an attorney, which ends up costing their family time, effort, and thousands of dollars later in order to fix the problems in the estate.
State Laws affect Estate Plans More than Anything Else and Differ Greatly Among States
State laws are extremely specific about every possible minute detail of any part of an estate plan. The exact format, procedures, language, and rules are different in every state, and a good estate planning attorney will know these differences and understand how to plan your estate accordingly.
This may not sound like a big problem, but what if your assets are in multiple states? What if your trustees are in multiple states? Estate planning attorneys understand the nuances related to these issues and can resolve them and plan your estate to fit your situation.
Common Estate Planning Issues that an Estate Planning Attorney Can Help You Solve
- You have substantial assets in 401(k)s and/or IRAs
- You were recently divorced
- You recently lost a spouse or other family member
- You have a taxable estate for federal and/or state estate tax purposes
- You’re in a second (or later) marriage
- You own one or more businesses
- You own real estate in more than one state
- You have a disabled family member
- You have minor children
- You have problem children
- You don’t have any children
- You want to leave some or all of your estate to charity