What is my Lawyer’s Role in Estate Planning?

We continuously stress the legal pitfalls surrounding wills or trusts drafted without an attorney. This is because as experienced estate planning attorneys, we have seen far too many sad cases where an individual’s intent is not honored because of a poorly drafted document. Only a qualified estate planning attorney can help you understand and apply the many laws that apply to your personal estate situation.

Creating Your Estate Plan without an Attorney
A do-it-yourself (DIY) will or trust program or form is not a substitute for an attorney. It cannot provide you with the wide range of legal advice that an experienced attorney can give you. It also cannot assure you that your will is validly formed, or that assets passing outside of your will or trust are properly handled. Only an experienced estate planning attorney can consider state law nuances that may apply to your situation, and address relevant tax, legal and personal issues. Recently we had two different clients who come to us with DIY wills and trusts. They did not accomplish the intended result. Luckily it was not too late. In another case, because of the poor drafting done, we had to go to Court to get permission to change a trust. The clients spent 5-10 times what a trust would have cost originally if done by a qualified estate planning attorney at the outset.

Creating Your Estate Plan with an Attorney
An estate planning lawyer will help you organize your estate and explain the implications of various estate planning tools and techniques. An attorney will explain the pros and cons to different tools based on your personal situation. There are several estate planning options, but not every single one is right for every family or individual. An estate planning attorney will also guide you through the complexities of estate planning laws that apply to you, and help you understand what can happen if certain actions are taken. The attorney can anticipate difficulties that may arise in the event of your disability or death and can advise you how best to plan for those contingencies. An estate planning attorney can also ensure that your estate planning documents are validly drafted and leave no room for interpretation. This minimizes the chances that your will or trust will be challenged.

Ultimately, your affairs will be carried out how you want them to be. An estate planning attorney’s role is to make sure that your wishes are carried out according to your plan.

The Astill Law Office has provided high quality legal services for over 30 years. We specialize in wills, trusts, estate planning, and asset protection. If you have any questions about creating a Trust, Will, or estate planning in general, contact The Astill Law Office at 801-438-8698.