Unfortunately, there are many attorneys who treat estate plans like an order form.
Check here, for children, Check here for single, check there for divorced.
Looking at estate planning in this manner is very dangerous, because you will likely overlook some major areas where you need planning.
Estate planning is not just about taxes or picking a personal representative or an attorney-in-fact.
A will or trust is a final expression of your wishes. Many family memories have been tarnished due to bitter family battles that ensued upon the death of a family member, where a will did not address internal family dynamics.
A will affects many people’s lives, so the process and the documents drafted should be well-thought out and given the care and attention they deserve.
You, for the most part, probably don’t know what sorts of issues come up after death. Any attorney who has frequently handled any probate matters, especially contentious ones, like I have, know what sorts of problems pop up if left unaddressed in the estate plan. These are things like:
– An 18 year old child who inherits $500,000 and spends it within a couple of months;
– The spouse who remarries and then leaves all of his/her first spouse’s assets to her new spouse to the exclusion of his children from a previous marriage.
– The financially irresponsible former spouse ends up managing the minor children’s assets.
– The distrusted son-in-law who inherits and controls the assets for the grandchildren.
– The alcoholic or drug-addicted grandchild who inherits $50,000.
This is just a tiny fraction of the issues that can arise, if you don’t select the property estate planning attorney to draft your will or trust.
At your initial consultation, any good estate planner will attempt to uncover family dynamics, clarify your goals and, of course, examine your financial documents and review any previous estate planning documents. If they don’t– then you should be cautious, as there is likely something that will be missed.
Many times people are solely focused on cost when it comes to estate planning documents. As with anything, you get what you pay for. My fees for estate planning will likely be more than the average general practicioner, but you can rest assured that you will be getting the benefit of an experienced estate planning professional, as opposed to a general practicioner, who only dabbles in wills ever once in a while.
Another big difference is that unlike many general practicioners, the final signing of your documents is more than just “sign on the line”- I will walk you through each of your documents to ensure that you understand what’s actually IN your will. It is extremely important that you understand what is in your will- and sadly, many general practicioners don’t even understand the meaning of some of the provisions in their own wills!
With that said, if you are ready to schedule your estate planning consultation, contact Mindy with Angstman Johnson at 208-384-8588 to schedule your appointment with attorney Natasha Hazlett.