The Cook & Tolley Blog

Do I Need an Estate Planning Attorney? Find Out Here!

estate planning questions

Have you thought about what will happen to your assets after you’re gone? We all have things we leave behind. And without proper planning, our families could be left dealing with a complicated and stressful legal process.

This is exactly what estate planning seeks to help grieving families avoid. It involves making important decisions about your assets, all of which will significantly impact your loved ones after you pass away.

While many people prefer to create estate plans on their own, it’s important to have an estate planning attorney by your side. The assistance of an experienced attorney can be invaluable as they can help answer estate planning questions and protect your loved ones.

If you’re still unsure, follow along to learn about the benefits of having an estate planning attorney. Whether you’re single or married, have kids or not, or are just starting to think about the estate planning process, this quick guide will help you determine whether you need an estate planning attorney and why.

Can You Create Your Own Estate Plan?

Yes. Technically speaking, no law requires you to hire an estate planning attorney. However, it’s important to understand that drafting your documents could lead to unintended consequences (which we’ll explore below).

There are a variety of tax and legal implications associated with certain decisions within an estate plan that may have consequences you’re not aware of. Additionally, even if you choose to draft your own documents, you may still require assistance with filing them correctly.

Navigating the Estate Planning Process Alone

Estate planning involves a lot of important decisions that can have long-term consequences. Due to its complexity, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and unsure where to begin.

While it’s possible to create a DIY estate plan without the assistance of an attorney, it can be difficult to navigate alone. You’ll likely be left with many estate planning questions throughout the process. So, here are some reasons to consider hiring an estate planning attorney.

Legally Binding

Your estate plan may not be legally binding without an attorney’s help. Creating a will or trust is not enough; your documents must meet specific legal requirements to be valid. An attorney can ensure your estate plan will be upheld in court.

Costly Mistakes

An attorney can help you avoid costly mistakes. If your estate plan has errors, mistakes, or ambiguities, it can lead to disputes or legal challenges. An attorney can help you avoid legal pitfalls and advise you on the best course of action to take.

Complex Issues

An attorney can identify potential issues that you may not have thought of. There may be complex issues in your estate that you are unaware of. A qualified attorney can review your financial situation, family circumstances, and assets to identify risks and propose solutions that can help achieve your goals.

Peace of Mind

Really, what an attorney provides is peace of mind. You can feel confident that your assets will be distributed according to your wishes. You can be sure that your loved ones will be taken care of and your legacy will be preserved.

The Bottom Line

While it is possible to navigate the estate planning process alone, it’s important to understand that it’s a complex process that requires attention to detail and legal expertise.

Hiring a qualified estate planning attorney can help you avoid costly mistakes, ensure your estate plan meets legal requirements, and provide peace of mind for you and your loved ones.

What Does an Estate Planning Attorney Do?

An estate planning attorney specializes in helping individuals plan for the future. Their main responsibility is to protect their client’s assets in the event of their passing.

Here are some other key responsibilities and functions of an estate planning attorney:

  • Evaluating an individual’s assets to create a personalized estate plan
  • Drafting legal documents, such as wills, trusts, and power of attorney agreements
  • Ensuring that the estate plan complies with state and federal laws
  • Assisting with charitable planning, including setting up charitable trusts and foundations
  • Providing financial planning guidance to help minimize taxes and maximize wealth preservation
  • Administering and settling estates after an individual passes away
  • Advising on end-of-life healthcare decisions
  • Creating advanced healthcare directives

Overall, an estate planning attorney can provide invaluable guidance and support in protecting and managing an individual’s assets.

If you’re considering estate planning, working with an experienced professional can help simplify the process and give you peace of mind knowing that your affairs are in order.

Estate Planning Attorney Costs

Estate planning attorney costs can vary widely depending on the scope of your plan. Prices in Georgia can vary depending on your needs.

Factors such as the attorney’s experience, the size of your estate, and the complexity of your needs can all play a role in determining the cost.

If cost is a factor, we’d still suggest avoiding a DIY estate plan. The potential for costly errors and omissions makes working with an experienced estate planning attorney well worth the investment. Let a professional help you craft a comprehensive plan that provides peace of mind for you and your loved ones.

Do You Need an Estate Planning Attorney?

It’s ultimately up to you. However, the truth is that there are many cases where legal expertise can be incredibly helpful. For example, the following situations might require an attorney’s guidance:

  • Complex financial situations
  • Blended families
  • Special needs beneficiaries
  • High-net-worth individuals
  • Unique assets

All of these situations could benefit from the strategic planning that an estate planning lawyer can provide.

Ultimately, as mentioned, for most people, the peace of mind that comes with consulting an estate planning attorney is reason enough to consider pursuing legal advice. At the very least, it makes sense to have a consultation with a lawyer (even if you don’t end up using their services).

Get Answers to Estate Planning Questions

While it may be tempting to try to create a plan on your own, the complexity of estate planning mandates the need for an experienced attorney in most cases.

At our Athens-based firm, our knowledgeable team is dedicated to guiding you through the estate planning process. We’ll ensure your plan follows all the necessary parameters. And we’ll be with you every step of the way.

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Contact us today at 706-549-6111 to get answers to your estate planning questions. Or click here to schedule a consultation and start securing your future.

We’re here for you.

Please reach out to us today.