Most people would rather avoid having to hire an attorney at all because they fear high legal fees. Accordingly, many individuals in need of legal help turn to low cost clinics or cut-rate legal websites, as well as do-it-yourself alternatives. One of these legal areas is estate planning where you can easily find a variety of documents online such as wills, trust forms, health directives and other templates for you to fill in. Unfortunately, in many cases where someone has attempted to execute a will or other testamentary instrument without competent legal counsel, or without any legal assistance, they failed to follow certain formalities or other requirements leading to costly disputes and to the courts’ often thwarting their real intent in how they wished to disburse of their assets after their death.
For example, if you make a will in Massachusetts but fail to have it signed by two people who witnessed your signing, it will be considered invalid. Even though Massachusetts does not require that your will be notarized, you will have a difficult time self-proving it if you did not have a notary and cannot produce the two witnesses who signed it. Also, if you have a will, does it have a residuary clause? If you have set up a trust, are you certain that it complies with the laws of Massachusetts and conveys your intensions when the time comes?
An estate planning lawyer can save you thousands of dollars in taxes along with avoiding the delays and costs involved in probate.
When an Estate Planning Attorney Can Help
There are a number of life events or financial circumstances where an estate planning lawyer can help you set up an estate plan that will protect your assets and care for your loved ones. These may include:
- Establishing a special needs trust for a disabled or aged family member so that government benefits are not jeopardized
- You have remarried
- You have minor children
- You now have substantial assets in retirement accounts
- Your estate is large enough for federal and state estate tax implications
- You own real estate in other states
- You own at least one business
- Some of your assets are to be given to a charitable organization
- You want a trust with specific conditions and directions
- Planning for medical and financial emergencies by drafting a living will, an Advance Medical Directive and an durable power of attorney
- Wishing to minimize taxes and ensure your assets are distributed easily and quickly to your heirs and beneficiaries
Consult Estate Planning Attorney Patricia Bloom-McDonald
You need not wait until your senior years to have an estate plan in place. Plan now for your future and for those whom you wish to leave your assets earned by decades of hard work. It is a commonsense and satisfying task but you should be careful to update your plan whenever a major life event arises. Patricia Bloom-McDonald has been advising and preparing estate plans for her elderly and young adult clients for over 20 years. Contact her office today for all your estate planning concerns.