Legal Tips and Resources
Yes. Specifically, you need an estate planning lawyer. Only an experienced estate planning lawyer will assess your personal situation, be familiar with the applicable laws in your state, and recommend the best structure of estate planning for you. Basic internet searches and standardize templates from a website cannot do that for you.
ESTATE PLANNING LAWYER
An estate planning lawyer has the education and experience to advise clients on preparing their affairs for incapacity and death.
Cheaper online methods of creating a Will do exist, but hiring a professional is the best way to ensure that: 1) your assets are truly protected, 2) your Will follows current law, and 3) that your wishes are carried out legally and correctly.
WHAT WILL A LAWYER DO FOR ME?
It may vary due to individual needs, but most estate planning lawyers follow a similar timeline:
Meet With An Estate Planning Attorney. Often called an initial consultation, this meeting allows both you and the attorney to get to know each other and make sure the attorney-client relationship is the right fit for you and your family.
Provide Information. Many estate planning lawyers will ask you to provide the information necessary to create your Will. Required information often includes family names and birth dates, financial information, a list of assets, fiduciary nominations, etc. It is imperative that you provide current and truthful information to your attorney so that your estate planning documents are as accurate as possible.
Draft The Documents. When your lawyer has all the necessary information, they will draft the Will. It is likely they’ll suggest you create more than just a Will. A comprehensive estate plan often includes:
- Living Trust
- Last Will and Testament
- Durable Power of Attorney
- Health Care Documents, including:
- Health Care Power of Attorney
- Living Will
- Deeds for Real Property
Review. Once the documents are drafted, the attorney provides them to the client for review. It is extremely important to review your estate planning drafts to ensure that the information is accurate and reflects your desires.
Sign the Documents. The documents are often signed in the presence of a Notary Public and at least one witness.
WHERE DO I FIND A LAWYER?
There are a variety of ways to find the right lawyer for you and your family:
- Word-of-mouth: A recommendation from a family or friend is the #1 way to find a lawyer.
- State Bar: The names of lawyers in your state who have passed the bar exam is public information, so with a bit of research you can find a lawyer in your area.
- Online: Websites like Martindale-Hubbell or Avvo help match potential clients with lawyers practicing in the local area and in the type of law needed.