If you were looking to establish a will for you or your family or wanting to have a trust to help establish your estate plan – the plan that answers the question, “what happens if I get hit by the bus?” – you will find it’s much easier said than done. A will or a trust is more than just words on paper signed in a lawyer’s office. Related estate planning documents like the powers of attorney or healthcare directives for incapacity should be handled with caution. These documents are extremely important planning devices that are designed to potentially move millions of dollars of legacy and family property to relatives, friends and charities. Lawyers litigate over these documents all the time, so it is best to get it right the first time.
Wills and trusts and estate plan documents are not easy to establish for a nest of reasons. For one, it’s never easy for a person to write about themselves, much less write about the end of one’s life. Fear of death, fear of losing control, and fear of dealing with lawyers all come together when thinking about calling an estate planning attorney for wills and trusts. That complex consideration remains the same even if a person chooses to write a will themselves, use a will kit, hire a legal online service, or use a family-lawyer-friend. Those last four methods by which to write a will or establish a family trust, without the help of an experienced trust and estates attorney, can lead to a higher rate of failure for self-prepared documents. Document failure means lawyers will be litigating for or against a will or the family trust – or it’s family fighting in the probate court over who controls the property of the deceased or incapacitated family member. Ironically, when wills, trusts, powers of attorney and medical healthcare documents are acquired, using the services of trusts and estates lawyers will, more likely than not, lead to successful documents that will peacefully carry out the intended estate plan.
Estate planning is like insurance in that you don’t want to have to use your insurance or your estate plan documents, but once you have the insurance or the estate plan in place, you can have the peace of mind to know that there is a plan in place in case something may happen – like any situation where you cannot make decisions for yourself. The estate plan helps a person exert control over themselves and their money in situations where they no longer can express a choice. That situation is incapacity or death which is never easy to deal with and that is where we best help our clients. We understand where our clients are coming from and we make the planning process as convenient, knowledgeable and accessible as possible through unlimited email and phone call communications in the planning, drafting, and establishment of wills, trusts and related planning documents.
These lawyers are specialists known as scriveners or Trusts and Estates attorneys. Scriveners focus on making sure that there will not be family litigation over estate plan documents, or family feuds over the care of a person or the distribution of a family member’s financial assets from their estate or trust.
As said, it’s not easy putting together one’s own estate plan. It can get complicated fast. Even people with blended families, a family business, deeded property held in several states, and intangible assets may arrange for a well-crafted, knowledgeably composed trust or will-based estate plan with the help of experienced estate planning attorneys.
Some say, if it were easy it wouldn’t be worth it. We have made estate planning easier with convenience, experience, access, and a focus on the positive side of making a legacy and taking control of a person’s own care or their property. If all things must pass and the only thing that remains the same is change itself, then it seems the early (good planning) bird really does get the (good legacy) worm. A long journey always starts with a first step. Some people have said that reaching out and calling for help is the hardest step of the planning process.