Estate planning. To the uninitiated, this sounds like something only the wealthy require—those with grand estates that span acres and include large collections of specialty items.
In reality, though, everyone can benefit from an estate plan. But not any plan will do. And not every plan fits every individual.
Moreover, while estate plans do direct how you want your assets distributed, the also can do so much more. They govern important matters regarding care providers for young children, plan for Medicare and end-of-life wishes, and can distribute personal and business assets through trusts and other tax-minimizing entities.
Why Aren’t DIY Estate Planning Forms on the Internet Good Enough?
Contrary to popular belief, DIY estate planning forms do not always ask the right questions or dig deep enough. Because there isn’t a real person behind the screen, there is no one to ask a follow-up question if you respond with a non-standard answer.
Perhaps even more unfortunate is the fact that a form you fill out online may not be valid under your state’s law. Additionally, a form plan found online can’t possibly consider all the subtleties of your life, such as:
- The legal and emotional consequences of excluding a child or grandchild from your will
- Naming the most appropriate beneficiary on your retirement account
- Gifting more money to a family member who took care of you
- Taking over a family-owned business
- Funding care for beloved pets
- Whether you are legally competent to make these decisions and sign the documents
Why Hire an Estate Planning Attorney?
An estate planning attorney will look at your entire situation: your current needs, future care expenses, the number of assets you have, and how long your retirement and savings will support you in the later years of your life. An attorney will also explain in plain language:
- How the consequences of your estate-planning choices can affect your heirs for generations
- How federal, state and local laws can affect how your assets are preserved, taxed and distributed
- Why it’s important to ask the right questions and to tailor a plan to your life, your family and your estate-planning philosophy
Lawyers know that they need to ask questions beyond just what the numbers are. Estate planning is a highly personal and emotional process. Discussions involve complex financial matters, family dynamics and your ability to understand the choices you need to make and the consequences of those choices. You need to set up enforceable documents that govern the last days of your life and how you will pay for your care.
Contact an Experienced Lawyer for a Personalized Estate Plan
We concentrate on assisting people plan for life’s expected and unexpected events. A solid estate plan will help you through your retirement years, transferring your wealth at the appropriate time, and clearly detailing your end-of-life medical care and decisions. Contact us to arrange an appointment to put your mind at ease.