Most people would agree that estate planning is something they believe is important, but even some of those with that opinion don't have their own affairs in order. Despite all of the benefits estate planning can provide – chief among them: peace of mind! – not everyone who knows and understands the value of a plan has one.
There are many common reasons for this, many of which boil down to the erroneous notion that one is too young, healthy, or not wealthy enough to consider their end-of-life and postmortem affairs. Another common reason, though, is that the role an estate planning attorney can play in the planning process is downplayed or not as well understood as it could be.
Take some time to consider some of the benefits an estate planning attorney can bring to the table to assist you with your estate plan.
A Lawyer Can Ensure Compliance with Current Law
Your estate plan is only as good as it complies with the law. When important documents like a will or trust are left out of sync with the laws that govern them, it can have significant adverse consequences for family members who must pick up the pieces.
You shouldn't rely on any templates for estate planning documents that you find online or anywhere else. Only a licensed estate planning lawyer is qualified to ensure that your estate plan complies with state and federal law.
A Lawyer Can Update Documents When Necessary
A common misconception about estate planning is that it's a “one-and-done” deal that doesn't need to be revisited. The reality is that you should review your estate plan on an annual basis – especially when important events that change your family or assets occur.
Other important events that are cause to review your estate plan are changes to tax laws. These might occur more frequently as they can reflect the values and policies of whichever political party happens to control Congress and/or the presidency in any given year.
Working with an estate planning attorney can mean that you'll have someone who can help you modify your plan whenever important changes occur in your personal life or on a grander scale.
An Attorney Knows the Right Language to Use
What's in a word? Well, when it comes to estate planning, words and the meanings that they convey in a legal context matter to a great degree.
For example, a carefully drafted will can mean the difference between an uncomplicated probate process or a will contest that causes strife in your family. Likewise, properly worded advanced directives mean that your end-of-life wishes won't be up for debate among your loved ones. It's especially important to ensure powers of attorney are properly worded if you wish to limit your agent's power of your financial affairs!
An estate planning attorney can offer the confidence you need to know that your estate planning documents say exactly what you mean them to say. In turn, they are more likely to function as you intend them to function.
An Attorney Can Offer Personalized Legal Assistance
One of the things people misunderstand about estate planning attorneys is that they're something of a formality to the process – people with the credentials and licensing to draft and file important planning documents – rather than advocates who actually care about how those documents will serve clients and their families.
Of course, we can't speak for all attorneys but we at the Law Offices of Maria N. Jonsson, P.C. do value providing our estate planning clients with personalized legal assistance. This means that we invest time in learning about their estate planning goals and customizing our legal services and advice to help them achieve those goals.
Our service isn't just reactive, either – Attorney Maria N. Jonsson is a proactive advocate for her clients and can advise them of potential opportunities and complications that they may not have considered.
If you are interested in learning more about our estate planning services at the Law Offices of Maria N. Jonsson, P.C., please contact us online now!