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When To Use An Estate Planning Attorney



The expenses associated with hiring an estate planning attorney to help you prepare an estate plan are worth many, many times more what you, your estate or your heirs may have to pay in the absence of a properly-prepared estate plan. Hiring counsel to navigate through the estate planning process may also help prevent hefty financial mistakes that can occur with lacking, improper or otherwise erroneous estate plans. A missing word, erroneous punctuation, errant mark or lacking signature can translate into litigation spanning for a year or longer and costing thousands or tens of thousands of dollars.

Hiring estate planning counsel can assist in preventing emotional crises from charged and stressful situations surrounding the death of a loved one and resulting money issues. An estate planning attorney with a regular book of business in wills, trusts, probate and estates can assist you with providing counsel as you prepare your particularized estate plan or review the drafts you have prepared.

Plus, estate planning attorneys (like all legal counsel) are required to carry legal malpractice insurance, must take continuing legal education in their field annually and are subject to the regulation of their respective state bars. Measures of protection are loaded into each of these requirements, and if an error is made during the estate planning process, then potential remedies are available to the decedent's estate and heirs. Whereas, a person who prepares her own will with Internet software or forms from a book is without any form of recovery or remedy if the estate plan she prepared proves deficient.

What Exactly Can an Estate Planning Attorney Do for Me?

  1. Estate planning attorneys are regularly hired for the drafting stage of planning an estate.
  2. Estate planning counsel might also give advice on setting up and structuring the will in a way to reduce, if not avoid entirely, hefty and burdensome estate taxes.
  3. Estate planning attorneys can provide quality control to estate planning documents to catch errors, omissions and oversights, especially in documents prepared by others or parties without the assistance of counsel.
  4. Perhaps most valuable of all, estate planning attorneys can assist throughout the estate administration process by squelching conflicts and challenges before they have a chance to fester and surface in costly and damaging ways. This invaluable service can prevent costly, time-intensive estate litigation in instances when will challenges are made or a party files suit over the will.