There are many ways to start to plan for the future. You may create a list of financial goals, talk to your family about who you want to care for your children in the event of your death, and even start to think about the types of investments you should be making to grow your wealth. Creating a last will and testament is an important step in ensuring your wishes are carried out after you die. With so many forms available on the internet, many clients may start to wonder whether they really need to hire an estate planning attorney for a simple will.
Although it may seem that doing your own will is a good way to save a little money up front, not hiring an estate planning attorney to assist you with this can end up costing your beneficiaries in a big way. First, an estate planning attorney will know all of the essential, basic requirements to make sure a will is actually valid and enforceable. For example, an estate planning attorney will be acquainted with the signature requirements, whether the signatures have to be notarized, and whether there are specific clauses which must be included. Failure to make sure that the basic components are included could result in a will being ruled completely invalid and unenforceable. If this occurs, your assets will be distributed according to the Minnesota laws of intestacy, with little to no regard for your preferences.
Another reason you should hire an estate planning attorney is that he or she is familiar with issues that commonly arise in estate planning but you may not be aware of or thought about. For example, an estate planning attorney can speak with you about the transfer of assets in probate and help you with alternative strategies to have your assets transfer directly to your beneficiaries instead of having to pass through probate.
Third, if you think you have friends or family members who may try to contest your will and circumvent your wishes after you pass away, an estate planning attorney will have strategies in mind to help reduce the chances that these troublesome plaintiffs may be successful in their efforts.