It’s entirely possible to do all your estate planning on your own, without hiring an estate planning attorney; and yet, just because it’s possible, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s recommended. Before going down the path of DIY estate planning, it’s important to consider both how complex estate planning can be, and how advantageous it is to work closely with a professional.
In this post, we’ll outline just a few of the reasons why it might be wise to enlist a wills, trusts, and estates attorney.
Beyond the Will
For starters, your estate planning needs may not be as simple or as clear-cut as you assume. If all you needed was a will, that would be one thing. For the vast majority of estate plans, however, a will just isn’t enough. Consider:
- A will alone won’t keep your assets from being caught up in probate court. This can lead to significant inconvenience for your heirs. The best way to keep assets out of probate altogether is by instituting a trust. For that, you’ll need a wills, trusts, and estates attorney.
- Estate planning isn’t just about your assets! It’s also about articulating your end-of-life wishes, including preferences about life support and other forms of care. Again, a will alone won’t cut it. You’ll want to have an advance healthcare directive, a financial power of attorney, a living trust, and/or a living will. A living wills lawyer can be invaluable here.
This is just a sampling of some of the estate planning needs you may encounter, needs that go well beyond the basic will. A will and trust attorney will help you ensure that you’re doing everything you need to leave the right kind of legacy.
Preserving Your Estate
Something else to consider: Not all estate plans are created equal.
What we mean by this is simple. Just because you have an estate plan in place, that doesn’t mean you’ve done everything in your power to preserve your estate’s full value.
Basically, when you leave your assets to someone, whether it’s a child or a spouse or a non-profit organization, you want the recipient to receive the full value of those assets. Often, taxation can take a big chunk out of your estate, meaning your heirs receive less than what you’d intended.
Proper estate planning takes taxes into consideration and provides you with a strategy for minimizing the tax burden. Again, this is something that requires a high level of expertise. A wills and trusts attorney can offer you the knowledge necessary for maintaining your estate’s full, robust worth.
Special Needs and Estate Complexity
Finally, be aware that estates are all a little different, and boilerplate online wills won’t provide you with the means to accommodate their full complexity. A number of particular issues can muddy the waters of your estate planning, including:
- Small business ownership
- Divorce and/or remarriage
- Children who are still minors
- The wish to give to a non-profit
- IRAs, 401(k)s, life insurance policies, and other assets
- Bitcoin or other digital assets
You will naturally want an estate plan that encompasses all of these things and gives you the best possible framework for leaving a legacy and taking care of your family. A trusts, estates, and living wills lawyer will do just that.
Contact Singh Law Firm Today
Do you have further questions about the role of a will and trust attorney? Or are you ready to talk about some of your specific estate planning needs? Either way, we welcome you to contact Singh Law Firm at your next opportunity.