Why You Need an Attorney for Estate Planning


If you think estate planning is something you can do yourself, you may want to think again. The December 2010 legislation on estate duty relief has brought in $ 5 million worth of property that an individual can leave exempt from inheritance tax, adjusting them for inflation every year. Another crucial change was to reduce the highest federal tax rate to 40%.

As a result, an increasing number of people want to avoid paying the services of a lawyer for this type of law. What they do not realize is that estate planning is a complex undertaking. A simple missing signature or an incorrect word is enough to change the entire contents of a will or trust. Read on to discover three compelling reasons why you need a lawyer for estate planning.

Specific laws of the states

Each state has its own laws when it comes to determining who may or may not be in a trust, will, power of attorney or financial power of attorney. There are also differences between the formalities to be followed when signing an estate planning document. What is required in Arizona may not be in Florida and vice versa.

For example, some states require that a personal representative be bound by marriage or blood, or they must be residents of that state. Failure to meet the above criteria means that the person will not be allowed to act as a personal representative.

Caveat Emptor

This is an old Latin saying that means "beware of the buyer". The evolution of the Internet has led to a plethora of legal documents readily available online. This can make legal representation unnecessary. The problem is that you can fill out your forms online very easily, only to discover that all or part of your trust, your will, your financial proxy or your power of attorney is either invalid or not working as intended. If this happens, your family may have to pay thousands of dollars to fix the mistake and will eventually hire a lawyer specializing in estate planning!


As we mentioned above, estate planning is a complex undertaking. If you are an owner of a business, if you are in your second marriage, if you do not have children or if children are still minors, if you want to leave money to a charitable organization or if you have real estate in another state, you will need the advice of an estate planning lawyer. Indeed, there are dozens of other situations not described above in which things can get complicated quickly.

Regardless of the number of searches you have done, you will probably lack legal expertise, which could be expensive. If you do not want to pay the services of an estate planning lawyer to save money, it is likely that your family will spend 3 to 5 times more money down the line. In order to make things easier for your loved ones and to ease the stress you may feel, contact a real estate lawyer today.

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