Estate planning is one of the most important things you can do in life. It ensures that the right loved ones receive the things you leave behind.
Estate planning can also reduce the amount of taxes that are paid, any potential legal fees, and other issues that you’d rather take care of sooner than later.
It establishes healthcare instructions in the event that you become unable to make your own medical decisions.
But should you hire an estate planning attorney instead of using online services such as LegalZoom? Although these services can be less costly, they can present a number of issues that you need to be aware of.
DIY Estate Planning?
The Internet has seen a variety of do-it-yourself legal service providers pop up in recent years. Services such as LegalZoom offer simplified solutions for a wide range of document preparation needs.
They offer low-cost products built on standardized forms that customers use to plug in their information. Many customers appreciate the peace of mind that services like these offer. But are they guaranteed to be accurate and current?
LegalZoom and similar service providers state that they aren’t meant to substitute for the services and counsel that an attorney can provide.
But in many cases, customers may be incorrectly convinced that the advice from an expert estate planning attorney isn’t really necessary.
The biggest pitfalls that many people encounter come from a lack of understanding of their estate planning needs. Younger individuals often see estate planning as something that they don’t need until later in life.
Clients may be drawn to the ease and efficiency of online DIY document preparation services. Working with an attorney can seem to require more time. But you shouldn’t take shortcuts when it comes to planning the future of your estate.
Estate planning should be customized to your individual needs. A skilled attorney will have more resources to draw from in determining the best options for you during a consultation. You have the opportunity to ask questions related to your goals and concerns.
Most clients don’t understand what estate planning attorneys do. The services they provide go beyond simply drafting estate documents. They offer solutions that give you the highest level of protection so that your assets are distributed appropriately.
Finally, using a service like LegalZoom may increase the risk of completing documents incorrectly. This can lead to difficult and costly issues to deal with in the future.
Meeting With Your Estate Planning Attorney
Setting up a consultation with an estate planning attorney is the best way to determine if it’s the right choice for you and your family.
There are many factors to consider when planning for the future of your estate, and an attorney can answer all of your questions so that you get the most out of your investment.
If you need to plan for long-term medical care in the future, you should discuss this with your estate attorney. This is especially important for those who don’t have adequate health insurance or the financial resources to pay for their future care.
The value of your estate will impact your total estate taxes. You can save a significant amount of money on taxes if you know what you’re doing. Your attorney will advise you on the best ways to minimize the taxes that can be levied against your estate.
An estate attorney provides the highest level of protection against claims from creditors or the effects of a divorce. Protection can be provided for you and your family members with the right strategies.
Property concerns related to business ventures and secondary homes must also be considered during the estate planning process. Vacation homes and rental properties need to be protected in order to ensure that they are distributed to loved ones.
Estate planning can be a complex process. Although services like LegalZoom offer simplified solutions at a lower cost, they can also increase the risk of unwanted issues that can impact the safety of your assets in the long run.