No one likes to think about their eventual death. But much like taxes, death is unavoidable, and your life is more legally complicated than you realize. That’s why estate planning is such a serious business. The end of your life can unfold completely differently based on one missing sentence or one missing document.
An estate attorney knows the ins and outs of the law and knows the most common problems that arise in estates. They can help ensure that your wishes are honored, feathers are smoothed, and everything is dealt with as efficiently as possible.
Not convinced? Here are three reasons an estate attorney isn’t optional:
Estate Planning is Not a DIY Project
First things first: estate planning is not the time to DIY it.
Think about your assets. Think about your debts. Think about the life complications your family members will inherit when you die. Now think about the family that you’ll saddle with your estate.
Do you really want to entrust your legacy and the wellbeing of your loved ones to a one-size-fits-all estate planning algorithm?
Your loved ones are worth more than that.
They Help Navigate Sticky Family Situations
On a related note, an estate planning attorney can help navigate sticky family situations.
Most of the time, taxes and probate aren’t the biggest threat to your estate. Your family is. Between unrealistic expectations, poor communication, and family drama, your DIY estate can fall apart in the blink of an eye.
Let’s say, for example, that you have three children. And let’s say that you want to divide your estate among them. Sounds simple, right?
Not so fast.
If you have a combination of natural children, adopted children, and/or stepchildren, then dividing your estate among “my children” without clearly defining who is included under that umbrella can make it difficult for your executor to figure out who will inherit what.
You can see how things get ugly fast.
Things get even messier if you want to completely disinherit one of your kids or distribute your assets unevenly. If someone is disinherited or left less money, the disappointed party may well challenge the validity of the will.
You need an attorney in your corner to argue the legal validity of your estate plan and ensure that your wishes are respected.
Your Estate is More Complicated Than You Think
Finally, the truth is, your estate is much more complicated than you think it is.
Most people don’t think they don’t have anything worth fighting over. But unless you have zero debt and zero assets, it’s much messier than you think it is.
Did you know, for example, that some assets cannot be passed through a last will and testament? Also, your estate is technically your wishes, but it’s also subject to tax laws, state laws, and federal laws. Those laws change all the time.
You may not even know everything you need to include in your estate plan. If nothing else, an estate attorney can help you run through an estate plan checklist to ensure everything is in place.
Life Tips Beyond an Estate Attorney
Death is a complicated business. Then again, so is life. An estate attorney can help you plan ahead for after you’re gone, but in the meantime, you’ve got a lot of life left to live.
For more tips to live your best life, check out our blog for other great posts like this one.