The global pandemic has changed how we view the world in countless ways, but there’s one aspect that has changed for the better: our chances of planning for our loved ones’ futures.
Today, 62% of Americans still don’t have a will. However, experts have found that more people have created or are planning to create one.
Preparing for future uncertainty is always a good idea, but it’s just as important to go about it the right way. While it’s possible to create legal documents without the help of an estate planning attorney, doing so isn’t always in your best interests.
If you’re considering creating your own estate plan, it may be a good idea to think twice. Let’s take a look at why you should consider working with an attorney for this critical project.
Local Attorneys Know Local Estate Planning Laws
The overall picture of estate planning looks the same no matter where you live nationwide. However, the laws of each state may vary in terms of minor details and nuances.
Some states have specific requirements regarding the types of assets allowed in a will or trust. Others mandate that your personal representative must be a resident of the state at the time of your death. Some states may even require specific formalities during the signing of estate planning documents.
In addition, even these minor details may change from year to year. The federal government, state governments, local court systems, and the IRS make small changes to the law all the time. For the average layperson, it can be difficult to keep track of these nuances.
In other words, when you’re considering estate planning in Watertown, WI, it’s important to work with a team that has experience specific to the area. The right attorneys can help ensure that all documents you create remain valid both now and in years to come.
Attorneys Help Create Indisputable Estate Plans
It’s possible to find anything online these days—and that includes cheap estate planning services and free templates and e-books. Access to tools like these might tempt you to make a do-it-yourself job of your estate planning in the hopes of saving money or time.
However, as stated above, the nuances of local law can be complex. Even an error in a minor detail of your paperwork can make the entire document invalid.
In some cases, the Wisconsin courts will not recognize certain do-it-yourself documents. Even if these documents are found valid, small errors or incorrect statements can cause delays when your beneficiaries try to claim your assets.
Because a local estate planning attorney will understand the nuances of local laws, you can be confident that your documents will be indisputable. If you want peace of mind in knowing that your beneficiaries will have the financial support they need after your passing, an attorney can help.
Estate Planning Attorneys Can Save You Money in the Long Term
If you balk at the idea of paying a flat fee for an attorney’s services, you may want to consider the long-term repercussions of not doing so. If you create an estate plan that is found to be invalid, your beneficiaries may have to pay professional fees, taxes, and court costs.
In other words, the mistake of do-it-yourself estate planning can cost your beneficiaries thousands in the future—in addition to the headache and stress of fighting for assets that should rightfully belong to them.
In addition, an experienced attorney may even be able to help you save more money on the front end. Attorneys are more likely to find tax and financial benefits that work in your favor, allowing you to safeguard more of your estate for your loved ones.
Estate Planning Attorneys Offer Objective Advice
On a psychological level, many of us have a complicated relationship with money—which reveals a lot about us. Most people view money as a source of comfort, security, self-esteem and more.
This can make it hard for us to separate our emotions from our finances. When our family members and beneficiaries are concerned, it becomes even more difficult to stay objective.
An estate planning attorney can help you take a step back from the situation, offering unbiased advice to help you make crucial decisions as needed.
A Lawyer Can Update Your Estate Plan
Estate plans are not documents that fall under the “set it and forget it” mantra. Most people experience life changes that require updates to a will and testament every six months to two years. Whether it’s your circumstances that have changed or your beneficiaries’, you’ll need to make sure that your legal documents keep up.
An attorney can help you revisit your documents as needed when your financial situation changes. Sometimes, all you’ll need is a simple codicil, and other times, you may need to reevaluate the plan as a whole. Whatever the case, an attorney can be a trusted resource for both you and your loved ones as you work to understand your changing legal needs.
Attorneys Can Help You Navigate Complex Situations
Though some people can get by with a relatively simple estate plan, most of us have complicated personal and financial situations that can complicate our plans for the future. In most cases, it’s helpful to have an attorney sort out the details of situations like the following:
- You have minor children, no children, or plan to leave your children out of your estate plan
- You own property outside of Wisconsin
- You own your own business
- You plan to leave some of your assets to charity
- You have a substantial amount of money in retirement accounts
- You were recently divorced or lost a spouse
- You recently lost a family member
- One or more of your beneficiaries has special health or financial needs
Estate planning can be complicated at the best of times, but anyone in situations like these should consider hiring a local Wisconsin attorney to help.
Create Your Estate Plan the Right Way
The decision to create an estate plan will always be an admirable one—but it’s important to do it correctly the first time. Working with an estate planning attorney can ensure that your documents remain valid, and the right team can be trusted long-term resources to help you navigate your changing future.
At Watertown Law, we’re here to help! With over 200 years of combined experience serving clients throughout the state, our team can help you create an estate plan that will protect your loved ones in years to come. Contact us to learn what we can do for you.