Many people mistakenly think that they can write their own wills with a do-it-yourself kit or just type their wishes on a piece of paper and it will hold up in probate court. Although some people can write a perfectly valid will that adequately lists their assets and cleverly explains whom they’d like their property to pass to after death, most people struggle with this. Plus, the more complicated your will is and the more assets you own, especially if you own property in more than one state, your heirs are likely to run into all sort of issues proving the validity of the document you created.
Estate planning is complicated and although a will written on a piece of paper is 100% better than having no will at all, a D-I-Y will should merely be seen as a starting point to help you figure out how you want your assets divided up, whom you’d like them to go to and so on. Then, once you have that document in place, a competent estate attorney can help you flesh out all the critical legalese and make sure that your will stands up in probate. If you’re still on the fence about paying for an attorney, here are several reasons why hiring an attorney is best:
1. Estate attorneys are knowledgeable about your state’s ever-changing probate code, case law or legislation. They understand the differences between wills and a trust, and which one is better based on the circumstances.
2. They have the expertise to pinpoint troublesome areas and help you flesh out what you want so that your document stands up in court.
3. Estate attorneys can delve into family dynamics and potential troublesome loopholes, and advise you on how to appease disgruntled family members who might attempt to contesting your will.
4. They have a clear understanding of the complexities of the tax code.
5. Estate lawyers alongside their competent legal team can help prove that you were of “sound body and mind” when you created your will or trust.
6. They can help you resolve many of the issues that D-I-Y will creators experience daily like the creation of a document that is not executed properly. For instance, an experienced estate lawyer can help you through the process of naming an executor, figuring out who should be your child’s legal guardian, prevent you from putting non-legal conditions on heirs to receive payouts, etc.
7. Probate lawyers are knowledgeable about the law. For instance, they know whether or not an oral will is valid in your state, whether you need two signatures or three, and much more.
8. Estate attorneys can help you understand the probate process from beginning to end. They can help clarify confusing points about the process. For instance, you may think that naming your sister in your will supersedes the fact that you named your ex-boyfriend as the beneficiary on your bank account. But a competent attorney will explain that adding your ex-boyfriend on your bank account trumps your will and that upon your death, your ex-boyfriend will get your hard-earned money and not your sister when you pass.
Estate planning isn’t easy and although D-I-Y wills can act as a starting block to your overall estate plan, a competent attorney can help you figure out your best estate planning strategies and help you navigate through the estate planning process all the way to probate and beyond. For help, contact the experienced legal staff at Ibekwe Law, PLLC today.