Tag: Lawyer

Do You Need an Estate Planning Lawyer to Form a Trust?

If you want to form a trust, you may wonder if you actually need an estate planning lawyer. Maybe you have seen trust forms that you can print from the Internet, or you have a family member who prepared her own trust at home. But the truth is that using an estate planning lawyer is the safest and most reliable way to make a legally enforceable trust that accomplishes your goals.

Even a Single Misworded or Missing Sentence in a Trust Document Can Cause Major Problems

Trusts are structures that allow trustees to legally own and manage assets contributed by trust creators for the ultimate benefit of chosen beneficiaries. Trust creators give up all legal rights to the assets when they contribute them to the trust (unless the trust creators are also trustees or beneficiaries, which sometimes happens).

Because a trust document concerns legal ownership of assets, making one misstep in the wording of the document could have very serious consequences. For example, the wording could allow creditors of the trust creator or beneficiary to access the trust assets in satisfaction of debts, decimating the trust’s value. Or a mistakenly worded trust could cost the trust creator’s estate thousands of dollars in estate taxes. Fortunately, using a lawyer can help you avoid these pitfalls.

How Can a Lawyer Help with Your Trust?

Using a lawyer rather than trying to form a trust on your own has many advantages. For instance, a lawyer can:

  • Discuss with you the best type of trust to use (there are many)
  • Draft the trust language in accordance with current laws and court decisions
  • Explain the language to you in detail
  • Make changes to best accomplish your goals
  • Make sure the final document is properly executed
  • Help you choose an appropriate trustee
  • Answer questions about trust funding, management, and distributions as time goes on

One aspect of forming trusts that many people need advice about is funding a trust. You might need advice about which assets to contribute to the trust, how to change these assets’ ownership, and what the consequences of contributing them will be for your estate. An estate planning lawyer is the best person to answer these questions for you.

Want to start planning your estate by forming a trust? Local attorney Andrew Szocka, Esq. provides thorough and speedy estate planning help in the Chicagoland area. To schedule a free initial consultation, visit the Law Office of Andrew Szocka, P.C. online or call the office at (815) 455-8430.

Do You Need an Estate Planning Lawyer to Make a Will?

If you want to make a will, you may wonder if you actually need an estate planning lawyer. Maybe you have seen will forms that you can print from the Internet, or you have a family member who wrote her own will. But the truth is that using an estate planning lawyer is the safest and most reliable way to make a legally enforceable will that properly conveys your wishes.

How Can an Estate Planning Lawyer Help Make Your Will?

Estate planning lawyers provide many services in connection with wills, including:

  • Writing the text of the will
  • Giving input on the will’s contents and whether the wording will effectively convey your wishes
  • Talking to you about the effects of the will, such as possible estate taxes
  • Providing appropriate witnesses
  • Making sure that you execute the will correctly
  • Holding onto a copy of the will
  • Adding a new section to the will or rewriting it if needed
  • Helping out your family with estate distribution and probate court issues if you should pass away

If you were to write your will yourself, you would not receive any of these services. In fact, your family might need to hire a lawyer later at potentially greater expense if there are issues with enforcing your homemade will.

Which Issues Could Arise with a Homemade Will?

Unfortunately, many families run into problems when relatives decide to handwrite, type, or print out wills rather than seeing a lawyer. For example, the handwriting could be hard to read, there might be additions written into the margins that may or may not be legally enforceable, the will might omit a spouse or children inadvertently, or the document might have been improperly signed without witnesses. All of these issues might lead to prolonged battles in probate court that could have been avoided with legal help.

While some people ultimately decide to make their own wills, it truly is safer to visit a lawyer before making any estate planning documents on your own. You can get your questions answered by a knowledgeable practitioner, have documents prepared that meet your needs, and most of all have peace of mind about your wishes and goals.

Want to start planning your estate by making a will? Local attorney Andrew Szocka, Esq. provides thorough and speedy estate planning help in the Chicagoland area. To schedule a free initial consultation, visit the Law Office of Andrew Szocka, P.C. online or call the office at (815) 455-8430.

Do You Need a Lawyer to Help You Make an Estate Plan?

If you are thinking about making an estate plan, you might wonder if you really need a lawyer. You may have heard that you can download a will or trust from the Internet, sign it, and have an estate plan in a day. Why would you want to pay a lawyer if you can do it yourself? There are so many good reasons, including avoiding legal problems, accounting for special circumstances in your life, and gaining peace of mind.

  1. Avoiding Legal Problems by Using a Lawyer

One of the primary reasons to use a lawyer for your estate planning involves common problems with self-made legal documents. People who write their own wills may not follow the strict witness requirements, could include legally unenforceable language, or might not realize the consequences of certain kinds of gifts. For example, an inheritance given to a child with special needs could limit his or her ability to receive government benefits. Leaving a large estate as a non-U.S. citizen could cost a lot of money in estate taxes, limiting relatives’ inheritances.

Having a lawyer reduces the risk of encountering these pitfalls. Lawyers keep up on changes in the law, both nationwide and in your local area. They also devise various ways of accomplishing clients’ goals by using different types of estate planning structures: wills, trusts, business entities, powers of attorney, and more. In contrast, you never know the source of an online estate planning form, and you probably do not have a knowledgeable ally to explain the form to you.

  1. Accounting for Special Circumstances by Using a Lawyer

An estate planning lawyer can help you account for special circumstances and changes in your life. Online forms rarely offer enough space for explaining particular gifts to relatives. Nor are they flexible enough for people’s different needs. When a lawyer prepares a will, he or she can customize it to include the various gifts you want to make. The will can detail funeral wishes and other specifics too.

Further, your lawyer might suggest that you need other estate planning structures besides just a will. Some families want to create trusts for the benefit of future generations, while others own real estate and want to keep it in a holding company. You might also want a power of attorney to allow someone to make decisions for you if you cannot.

  1. Peace of Mind

Finally, using a lawyer for your estate planning provides peace of mind. Once you sign the will and other documents prepared by the lawyer, your estate plan is ready. You do not need to worry that you filled out the online form incorrectly or that your handwritten will is not enforceable. As a result, we recommend seeking legal advice about your estate today.

Want to start planning your estate? Local attorney Andrew Szocka, Esq. provides thorough and speedy estate planning help in the Chicagoland area. To schedule a free initial consultation, visit the Law Office of Andrew Szocka, P.C. online or call the office at (815) 455-8430.

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