Call Us For A Free Consultation


Using an Estate Planning Attorney is a Good Plan

By Libby Banks, The Law Office of Libby Banks
The Law Office of Libby Banks > Estate Planning  > Using an Estate Planning Attorney is a Good Plan

Using an Estate Planning Attorney is a Good Plan

As an estate planning attorney, I often get calls from people who’ve used online trust or will planning software or gone to a cheap trust mill to put their plan together. Sometimes, they go to their brother-in-law, the corporate lawyer, who uses a form he found in a book to put the plan together. When I’m asked about whether these are good ideas, I like to tell a story about my dear husband.

My husband Andy is a great handyman. It’s wonderful that I can ask him to fix things around the house and know he will do it right. When we first moved to our home in Phoenix, he replaced many of the appliances himself, including a cool new stove top. It was great! Well, it was great until he put in the new vent hood. I stood across the kitchen watching him do his usual good job, then walked over to the door for a better vantage point. Suddenly, the light bulbs on the hood burst and the fan spun across the room to hit the cabinet – right where I had been standing not 30 seconds before. “Honey,” I said, trying to keep my voice calm. “Do you think it’s time to call an electrician?”

We were lucky. No one got electrocuted due to the error and I didn’t get my head shaved by the fan. But we definitely came to the conclusion that there are times when it is best to call in the experts.

The same is true when you are putting together an estate plan. If you don’t do the job right, and you don’t know you’ve made a mistake, it may well be too late before you – or more likely, your family – finds out. Without proper estate planning, your family may end up in court. If you are alive and incapacitated, they may be required to take you to court to declare you unable to handle your affairs and get appointed as your guardian and conservator. That is a public proceeding, expensive and it involves at least two lawyers.

If you are deceased, your family may have to file a probate to transfer your property to your heirs. If your heirs are minor children, the court will be involved in the expenditures until the children turn 18, with regular requirements for reporting. Then at 18, ready or not, the court turns over all the remaining money to them to handle on their own. All of these things can cause major headaches and great expense for your loved ones.

Experts know things we don’t. As an estate planning attorney, I know what to recommend for you based on your situation, your beneficiaries, your assets, and your goals and dreams. You may not know all the ways you can benefit your heirs, or all the ways you can cause problems for them with a poorly drafted will or trust.

For instance, did you know that with the right estate plan, you can:

  • Rest assured that your family or friends can step in if an emergency happens to take care of your health and of your finances.
  • Avoid probate and quickly transfer your property.
  • Minimize taxes, including capital gains taxes.
  • Provide the guardian you selected for your minor children.
  • Designate that a Trustee governs the money spent on your minor children, and that person can be a different person than their guardian.
  • Protect your beneficiaries’ inheritances from their creditors and from their divorcing spouses.

The cost for a guardian or conservatorship if you are incapacitated (or for your minor children) and the cost of a probate on your death usually far exceeds the price of an estate plan put in place while you are alive and well. Putting the right plan in place, using an attorney who practices primarily or exclusively in estate
planning, will save your family heartache and expense. Knowing they will thank you for making it easier on them – that’s priceless!

For more information, go to our website or sign up for our free initial consultation. https://Libbybanks.com or call 602-375-6752. Sign up for our newsletter for periodic updates on legal issues affecting your will or trust plan.

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.