It’s good to try not to overcomplicate things that are basically very simple at their core. Unfortunately, people sometimes go in the reverse direction. They assume that a task is simpler than it actually is, and they try to take the matter into their own hands.
In far too many instances, the results are disastrous. If you take a moment to think about it, you can probably recall more than one sitcom episode that is built on this very premise.
This perspective often enters the picture when it comes to estate planning. Let’s look at a handful of reasons why you really do need an attorney if you want to plan your estate effectively.
Choosing the Right Asset Transfer Methods
There are numerous websites out there that sell fill-in-the-blanks legal documents, including wills and trusts. The idea is that you can buy one of these documents, follow the directions, and come away with a perfectly prepared estate plan.
This sounds like a person that knows that they need a starter for their car, so they order a random starter from an auto parts website. They know nothing about fixing cars, but they just assume that a starter is a starter.
In a real sense, there is really no difference between this fictional person and someone that decides to plan their own estate. Are you sure you should use a will or a certain type of trust? Do you know all the different options that are available to you?
A replacement starter is not a matter of huge importance, but when you plan your estate, you are giving your final gifts to the people that you love the most. There can be a great deal of money and valuable property involved, so this is a very profound endeavor.
On the other hand, when you explain your situation and your objectives to an estate planning attorney, they can explain all the possibilities and make recommendations.
At the end of the process, you can make fully informed decisions. Ultimately, you can go forward with the knowledge that your loved ones will be provided for in the optimal manner.
Satisfying Legal Requirements
Technically, you do not have to be an attorney to create a legal document, and any adult that is willing to assume the role can serve as a trustee or executor. Of course, you don’t have to be a mechanic to try to change a starter, but you may not do it right.
There are state laws that apply to inheritances matters. A will would be admitted to probate, and the court would provide supervision. There are many steps that must be taken to adhere to the guidelines, the same thing can be said about trust administration.
We are not suggesting that every estate situation that does not involve an attorney goes horribly wrong. But then again, many scenarios are extremely simple and straightforward, and sometimes the property in the estate is quite limited.
The point is that procedural errors can yield negative consequences in various different ways. A professionally prepared estate plan will pay dividends, and an attorney can also help to guide the trustee or executor going the administration process.
Medicare does not pay for long-term care, and nursing homes and assisted living facilities are very expensive. Medicaid is the solution for most people, but it takes careful planning to qualify, because there are low income and asset limits.
The rules are complicated, so it is difficult for someone that doesn’t have any experience in this area to devise an effective plan. This is another way that an attorney can provide invaluable assistance.
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If you would like to learn more about important estate planning and elder law topics, we invite you to join us at one of our upcoming webinars. They are free, and you can visit our webinar schedule page to see the dates and obtain registration information.
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