While drafting your estate plan you will probably come across a lot of people that want to give you advice. You may even find some advice while researching online. Though most people are sure to have good intentions when giving you advice on estate planning, you do have to be careful that you don’t follow bad advice. And, be sure, there is a lot of bad advice out there, especially from friends and family.
When you do get advice, you will want to have some idea of which advice is good and which is bad. Some of the bad advice you might get would include such things as, “if you don’t have a will, all of your property will go to the state.” Of course this is far from the truth. There are laws that will determine who will inherit your property if you die without a will.
It is also commonly believed that the will is the most important element of the estate plan. Again, this is probably not true for most people. A good estate plan has many elements, including trusts, Powers of Attorney and health care documents.
You may also be told that you do not need an attorney to draft an estate plan. This is technically true, but at a great risk that you may make mistakes that could be very costly to your family. Think of it as asking a general practitioner to do brain surgery on you. I wouldn’t bet my life on it… would you? Generic estate plans do not cover the unique situations that most every family has.
Estate tax laws are changing all of the time. Though someone might give you information about estate taxes that might have been accurate at one time, there is a possibility that this information is no longer up to date. An attorney will ensure that your estate plan is drafted in a way that will take the current tax laws into consideration.
If you are looking for estate planning advice, you will always want to get your advice from an attorney that is specialized in this area of law. Unless you are willing to take a major risk with your estate, you will not want to draft your own estate plan. It is far better to invest in a trusted attorney who specializes in this field now, and save your heirs a great deal of pain and problems later.