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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.