One of the biggest questions many families face is whether or not their loved one should hire an estate planning lawyer or not. Not only are there are a large number of lawyers qualified for this task, but there are likely many friends and family members in your address book who could refer you to one if the question of who to hire comes up. When it comes to ensuring your loved one’s affairs are in order, an estate-planning lawyer is an asset.
Lawyers who are adept in estate planning can help with the following:
Writing wills and trusts: few people realize that, if you are the beneficiary or otherwise listed anywhere else on the will, you cannot sign the will as a witness. This fact is one of the biggest reasons why wills become invalid. Keeping all the documents in order, ensuring they follow the law, and making sure all the signatures are legal are some of the many tasks your estate-planning lawyer will handle. Your estate-planning lawyer will also conduct all updates to your wills and trusts as life changes occur.
Establishing a power of attorney: there are a few different types of powers of attorney, and several reasons why there are differences. This is a confusing reality, particularly if you’re in the middle of a crisis situation. Your lawyer specializing in estate planning will tell you which type of power of attorney is necessary, and which is not. It is very important that you have all the proper documents in order and everything is in place in case there is an emergency.
Retirement planning: the sooner people plan their retirement, the better. Gone are the days of depending on various government benefits to see us through during our golden years. Instead, we must plan in advance. Few people realize estate-planning lawyers play an integral role in retirement planning. Your lawyer will work with your financial planner and other professionals to ensure your plan is properly put together.
Don’t be frustrated if your loved one doesn’t want to hire an estate planning lawyer. This isn’t an uncommon reaction because, often times, individuals believe the end of their days are near and that they’re going to lose control of their property, and they are not going to be able to make they’re own financial decisions any longer. Reassure them that this is not the case, and they will still have full control over all decisions regarding their estate until there is medical need calling for alternate decision making through a power of attorney. Make sure they are also part of the decision making process because it is, after all, their estate in question.
Before making your final decision as to who to hire as your estate-planning lawyer, hold many interviews with lawyers in order to ensure there’s a good rapport and the credentials you want to see are in place. Remember, you are going to be working with this lawyer for a long period of time, as well as their associates, so you must be able to establish a good working relationship with them. If you feel like you can’t get along with them during the interview, contact additional lawyers until you feel confident you’ve made a good long-term decision.