It is a normal thought process to ask if an attorney is needed to prepare an estate plan. After all, such a plan ultimately reflects your life circumstances and decisions. it is not quantum physics.
In certain circumstances, one can prepare a simple will without the help of a lawyer. For example, if the estate does not include real estate or other significant assets to be distributed upon death, a simple last will of your own should be sufficient if properly designed and executed. In addition, such a last will should also work when the family situation is relatively straightforward and there are no children from a previous marriage or persons with special needs. In addition, very basic health and financial powers of attorney can be found online.
If the estate is a significant asset or business, or if the family situation is complex due to children from a previous marriage, or if special needs need to be addressed, it is recommended that you seek the services of a lawyer. The more complicated the situation, the more likely hiring an attorney is the right call, as a qualified professional can ensure that the documents are accurate, enforceable, and achieve one’s goals.
Choosing the right lawyer should be a process in itself. Most importantly, that the selected attorney is involved in estate planning. Second, the relationship with the lawyer should be pleasant; Eventually, this attorney will ask about sensitive personal situations and financial details. Several websites offer reviews of various services, including lawyers. While it could be a helpful resource, be careful of fake reviews, both good and bad. A referral request with family, friends, or neighbors can be a good source of information, especially in a small community.
It might be tempting to use online legal services to create an estate plan. The internet offers a cheaper solution for hiring a lawyer. This is because the online estate planning process is most likely limited to putting the personal information in pre-made templates. Online legal services often include disclaimers stating that the service provider is not acting as an attorney and that the documents are not checked for accuracy. Additionally, an online estate plan is not tailored to meet needs, specific personal situation, and often even specific condition. There will be no assistance in the proper execution and recording of the documents. After all, there will be no advice on possible future issues and no opportunity to seek answers to any remaining legal questions.
The services of an attorney may not be required to create a very simple and easy inheritance plan. However, preparing estate planning documents without legal assistance can undermine the overall purpose of the estate planning and lead to unintended and often costly future consequences. Hiring an attorney ensures that the documents are correctly drafted. A lasting relationship between an attorney and client provides a feeling of security and confidence that loved ones are protected.
Thorough research and considering your needs is the best approach to making an informed decision about whether to create your own estate planning documents or consult an estate planning attorney.