Why It’s Essential to Have an Attorney Help with Your Estate Plan

By Joshua Berkley

The intricacies of estate planning make it an area where professional legal guidance is often crucial, particularly for the protection of your loved ones. Opting for a DIY approach to estate planning may seem appealing, but it often lacks the comprehensive detail and legal foresight necessary to secure your assets effectively. Without a proper understanding of laws and regulations, you run the risk of creating an estate plan that doesn’t fully protect your interests or those of your loved ones.

An attorney’s role in estate planning extends beyond drafting documents. They provide a deep understanding of the law, guide you through the decision-making process, and help mitigate potential disputes or litigation that could arise in the future. If you are deciding whether or not to use an attorney for your estate plan, make sure to consider the following:

Complex Issues 

Estate planning involves issues that will affect how your heirs will receive assets or property upon death. It is important to structure documents that will ease the process during a very difficult time. For example, if you need to go to Probate Court on an estate, this could involve extensive time delays and expenses that your heirs may be able to avoid depending on how your documents are structured. In addition, there are many tax laws that come into play in connection with the planning process for your estate. Having an attorney to navigate you through this process will ensure that taxes are not being taken from your estate unnecessarily.

Peace of Mind 

As you engage in planning to leave assets to your heirs, there is a certain peace of mind that you will receive knowing that you have done everything possible to ensure that assets will be distributed according to your plan. Having an experienced attorney draft your documents – whether it be a Will, a Trust, or Medicaid Planning documents, will ensure that everything is being done to smoothly transfer property and belongings to the desired recipient of your assets.

State-specific Law 

When planning your Estate, it is advisable to consult an attorney because the laws could potentially vary greatly from state to state. This is especially important when you are considering drafting a Trust, or Medicaid planning, or trying to devise a plan so that your loved ones will be able to avoid Probate in your particular State. You might even have residences in more than one State, so you would want to ensure that you are following the laws of your State of primary residence.

Need to be aware of updates 

It is critical that you be on top of changes in your status that could affect your estate planning goals. For example, if there is a change in your family’s status, such as a birth, marriage,  divorce, or death, this could impact your Estate planning documents. They would then need to be revised to reflect your objectives.

Avoid Probate  

Many times individuals might not consult an attorney and in the event something unexpected happens, the family members will have no choice but to file for a probate proceeding with the Court. For example, this may become necessary if an individual dies and bank accounts, safety deposit boxes, and real estate property are only in the name of the individual that has just passed away. As a result, the remaining beneficiaries may have to incur unnecessary expenses and lengthy delays while they file petitions in Probate Court to be able to access the assets that were intended for them.

Special Needs Planning 

If you have a family member who has special needs, it may be important to devise special needs trusts that will be set up to care for this particular individual. Otherwise, an inheritance may cause the special needs person to lose their government assistance and benefits.  An attorney who is well-versed in special needs trusts will be able to advise you on the best way to handle these situations to make sure your loved one is taken care of.

Contact Our Shelbyville Estate Planning Attorney Today

In summary, when you are thinking of planning for your estate needs, you want to be proactive and find the right attorney who will be able to help you navigate your estate needs. You want to be sure you have planned in advance, rather than have to unexpectedly react when an event occurs. 

Berkley Oliver provides representation with a focus on the areas of estate planning, probate, and elder law, and can help you make sure that your loved ones are protected, and that you have done everything possible to ensure their well-being during a difficult time in their lives. If you need assistance creating your estate plan, contact our skilled Shelbyville estate planning attorney today to schedule an initial consultation.

About the Author
Josh Berkley is an attorney and owner at Berkley Oliver PLLC who helps individuals implement plans to protect their assets and their loved ones. Josh focuses his practice in the areas of Estate Planning, Probate, and Elder Law.  From assisting young parents in making a plan to provide for their children, to helping senior clients qualify for Medicaid, Josh works with clients to create estate plans and life plans tailored to each person’s specific goals. He also helps clients with a wide variety of important legal documents such Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney, Healthcare Surrogate Designations, and Living Wills. If you have any questions regarding this article, contact Josh here.