By: Shaina Case
Designing a custom-built, legally enforceable estate plan that is in line with your goals and wishes is no easy task. Estate planning is not about filling in forms; rather, it involves, among other things, ensuring that the correct assets pass to the correct beneficiaries at the correct time in a cost-efficient manner. Building a relationship with an estate planning attorney (a person), and not a downloadable form on a website, is important for many reasons, including, but limited to the ability of the estate planning attorney to ask the right questions to help you determine what you want, to be creative about options to make sure what you want happens, and to discuss the proper handling of assets and issues that you may not otherwise have considered.
The use of online forms to create any estate planning document (whether a will, trust, living will, or power of attorney), is setting yourself for eventual failure and likely probate of your assets. This is most often because the “form” is not completed correctly, assuming the “form” followed your state’s law and requirements for valid creation in the first place. Unfortunately, I have worked with many families who thought their deceased loved one had a “will,” and therefore the estate administration process would be simple; only for me to have to share with them that the will was invalid under Wyoming law and, further, even if the will was valid, a probate was still required due to the unguided planning and handling of the deceased’s assets.
Collaborating with an estate planning attorney, who you believe suits your needs, expectations, and with whom you are willing to build a long-lasting relationship, is paramount to ensure your wishes are handled as you intend, as well as to help avoid issues, after you are gone.
Please contact Shaina A. Case to begin designing your personalized estate plan.