It’s tempting to look only at price when contemplating preparation of your estate plan. With on- line document production and document preparers charging far less than attorneys, you may easily be persuaded to save some money and avoid the attorney.
Remember your goal: You want to develop an estate plan, not just a document. Will the cheaper document achieve your objectives? Is an attorney’s experience and advice of any value to you? How will you know?
Ask yourself these questions:
- How do you know that your documents are properly drafted?
- Will a Last Will and Testament avoid Probate?
- Are living trusts just for the wealthy?
- Do you understand the dangers of naming your trust as a beneficiary on your qualified retirement account?
- Do you know that there are many types of financial powers of attorney?
- Do you know that many financial institutions may refuse to honor your power of attorney?
- Do you know that a health care power of attorney may still require a guardianship or conservatorship down the road without proper wording?
- Do you know the difference between a power of attorney and a trust?
- Do you know that only a Will can effectively create a special needs trust for a spouse?
The list goes on. There are a lot of different tools in the estate planner’s toolbox. Tools may be cheap, but you have to understand how to use them.
Don’t underestimate the value of an attorney’s advice. After all, that is what you are paying for, and need.