Do I Need to Hire an Estate Planning Attorney?

 A significant step in life is to set up an estate plan.

If you are in the process of taking this crucial step, you may be wondering if it is necessary to hire an estate planning attorney.

You do not have to hire an attorney; however, having an estate planning attorney will ensure that you are following the laws and will also relieve some of the stress of doing it yourself.

Let us take a look at what an estate planning attorney can do for you.



What an Estate Planning Attorney Does


An estate planning attorney doesn’t only set up your last will and testament, they also set up power of attorney, name your beneficiaries for your assets, and ensure that your wishes are followed. 

They also set up documents that will protect you if you become incapacitated.  Moreover, an estate planning attorney will develop documents that will ensure your children go to someone you trust, if for some reason you’re not around due to unforeseen circumstance (injury, death, etc).



Estate Plans Must Follow State Laws


Some people think that printing off estate plan forms from the internet will suffice.  Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that the forms you print and fill out are legally binding.  This means that even though you think your best friend and favorite charity are going to receive some of your assets when you die they may not receive anything if your forms are not legally binding. 

Worst case scenario here, if your forms do not follow your state laws, a judge will determine how your estate is divided and split up.  This could cause a lot of pain, stress, and fighting amongst your family members.  Not to mention, your estate will be stuck paying for probate court to figure everything out.

Honestly, if you have children, you do not want a judge to determine to whom they go to if you and your spouse both die.  Or who should get your favorite grandfather clock. Or who gets the keys to dads car.  Or, or, or…

Having the correct legal documents are super important! 



Complex Family or Financial Situations


If you have a complicated family makeup or complex financial situations, doing a DIY (do it yourself) estate plan is a bad idea.  The more complex your situation, the more imperative it is to use a qualified estate planning attorney.

Complex family and financial situations include:

  • second (or later) marriage
  • own one or more businesses
  • own real estate in more than one state
  • have a disabled family member
  • have minor children
  • have problem children
  • Do not have any children
  • want to leave some or all of your estate to charity
  • have substantial assets in 401(k)s and/or IRAs
  • were recently divorced
  • recently lost a spouse or other family member
  • have a taxable estate for federal and/or state estate tax purposes



Finding an Estate Planning Attorney in Brooklyn Or Anywhere Else…


Finding an estate planning attorney my seem overwhelming at first but there are websites such as FindLaw and AVVO that find attorneys for you.  You can also just type in “estate planning attorney near me” into your favorite search engine such as Google.

Of course, you’re already here as well and that’s what we specialize in, estate planning for people like you!  If you would like help setting up a new estate plan or revise an existing one, contact us today!  We would love to help!