By Libby Banks, The Law Office of Libby Banks
As an estate planning attorney, I often get calls from people who’ve used online trust or will planning software, gone to a cheap trust mill, or had their friend, the former corporate attorney, put their plan together with forms they found in a book. When I’m asked about whether these are good ideas, I like to tell a story about my dear husband.
My husband Andy is a great handyman. It’s wonderful that I can ask him to fix things around the house and know he will do it right. Once, he installed a cool new stove top in our home. It was all going smoothly until he put in the new vent hood. I stood across the kitchen watching him, then walked over to the door for a better vantage point as he finished the wiring. Suddenly, the light bulbs in the hood blew out and the fan spun across the room to hit the cabinet – right where I had been standing not 30 seconds before. “Honey,” I said, trying to keep my voice calm. “Do you think it’s time to call an electrician?”
We were lucky. No one got electrocuted due to the error and I didn’t get my head shaved by the fan. But we concluded that there are times when it is best to call in the experts.
The same is true when you prepare a will or trust. If you don’t do the job right, it may well be too late before you – or more likely, your family – finds out. Without proper estate planning, your family may end up in court. If you are incapacitated, they may have to go to court and declare you unable to handle your affairs so one of them can be appointed as your guardian and conservator. If you are deceased, your family may have to file a probate to transfer your property to your heirs.
Experts know things we don’t. As an estate planning attorney, I know what to recommend for you based on your situation, your beneficiaries, your assets, your goals, and dreams. You may not know all the ways you can benefit your heirs, or all the ways you can cause problems for them with a poorly drafted will or trust.
The cost of poor planning or no planning almost always exceeds the price of setting up a proper estate plan while you are alive and well. Putting the right plan in place and using an attorney who practices primarily or exclusively in estate planning will save your family heartache and expense.
For more information, go to our website at LibbyBanks.com or call 602-375-6752. On our website you can request a free initial consultation and sign up our newsletter for periodic updates on legal issues affecting your will or trust plan.