Why Do You Need an Estate Planning Lawyer?

Law Blog

As an adult, you work to earn a living and provide and care for your family. Over time, you create wealth or riches in the form of assets (houses, cars, stocks, businesses, etc.). You may also accumulate liabilities; for example, debts and loans.

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you were to become incapacitated or die? What would happen to your wealth? Will your family be taken care of? What would happen to your liabilities?

Taking care of such matters is referred to as estate planning, and the specialist to help you is referred to as an estate planning lawyer. Here's what you need to know:

Hire an Estate Planning Lawyer

The first step is to hire an estate planning lawyer to help guide you through the estate planning process. This includes showing you where to start, gathering the required documents, filling out these documents and everything else you need to do.

What Happens When You Meet with Your Estate Planning Lawyer?

The lawyer first explains to you in layman terms what services they offer and how much the services will cost. If you have questions about the cost or services, this is the time to ask them; you can try asking for a discount if the cost is too high.

Secondly, the lawyer may ask you a series of questions, mainly centred on your wealth or estate. This helps the lawyer form the foundation of the services you might require and ensure that nothing vital is left out.

Lastly, your lawyer will discuss the various documents you might need to fill out. Examples of these documents include:

  • A written authorisation document that gives powers to a credible person or company of your choosing to handle your financial matters. 
  • A written authorisation document that gives powers to a credible person or company of your choice to make medical decisions on your behalf when you are incapacitated. These decisions involve things like what should be done if extraordinary life-prolonging treatments are required, there are difficult choices to be made, a particular treatment might leave you paralysed, etc. Ensure the person in charge of these decisions knows what you want; put it in writing as well. 
  • A will is a document that offers clear instructions on how your property is to be shared. 

The credible persons or companies you choose to handle the affairs represented by the documents mentioned above need to be authorised by a court of law. This is usually done when the documents are taken to court for validation.

You might also be required to update these documents as time passes to add any information or amend various details. It is not uncommon for various people in your will to become incapacitated or even die. You may also have accumulated more wealth after writing a will; this needs to be updated.


10 February 2021

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