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Why do I need an estate planning lawyer?

Near as I can tell you can do everything online, frequently for free.
Status: Open    Mar 02, 2015 - 08:54 PM

Elder Law

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Jul 10, 2015 - 09:41 AM

Estate and long-term care planning involves complex issues pertaining to, among other things, tax and asset protection laws and Medicaid rules and regulations. Designing appropriate estate planning documents, including wills, trusts, health care proxies and powers of attorney, require careful consideration and counseling. These documents must be customized to reflect your personal goals and objectives and should not be prepared by attorneys, let alone lay persons, who do not concentrate in the areas of estate planning and elder law. These areas of the law are constantly changing and attorneys are obligated to continue their legal education and keep apprised of all changes and developments in their areas of concentration. Just as you would not perform your medical or dental procedures, neither should you draft your own legal documents. You should refrain from being penny wise and pound foolish. While online document production may be less expensive now, it may cost you and/or your heirs considerable time and expense in the future when it is discovered that the documents were improperly or inadequately prepared.

Sep 23, 2015 - 12:03 PM

I am an estate planning attorney. I agree with everything Wendy Goidel said. I have on a very few occasions advised people that some simple documents are all that is needed. On those occasions I have not charged a fee or have charged a small consultation fee. On many occasions I have had families come in thinking something simple and cheap was needed, if anything, and I was able to save the family many thousands of dollars and ensure that their loved one was cared for the remainder of her life. That is the primary objective: to ensure the loved one is cared for completely whether at home with help, assisted living or nursing home care.

If attorneys were not needed and internet documents would cover your situation there would not be attorneys. I promise you that practicing law is not filling in universal forms. One more analogy: One size-fits-all pants – no such thing. Check out people of Walmart if you doubt me.

Sep 28, 2015 - 12:03 PM

In order to make sure your documents are valid, you should seek the assistance of an attorney. The online documents often do not conform to a state's specific rules about estate planning documents. Also, the person signing must have the right mental state, also known as "capacity," when signing. A lawyer would determine that you have capacity when signing and would attest to this fact if the validity of the document was ever challenged. Some estate planning attorneys may have an "a la carte" pricing for basic estate planning documents and you can have them done fairly cheaply. I recommend calling around to several attorneys in your area as pricing can vary widely!
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