If you believe estate planning is something you can do on a do-it-yourself basis, you might want to think again. The estate tax relief legislation of December 2010 raised the value of property that could be left free of estate tax by an individual to $5 million adjusted for inflation each year. Another crucial change involved reducing the highest federal estate tax rate to 40 percent.

As a result, an increasing number of people want to avoid paying for the services of an attorney for this type of law. What they don’t realize is that estate planning is a complex business. All it takes is a single missing signature or incorrect word to alter a will or trust’s entire content. Keep reading to discover three compelling reasons why it is necessary to hire an attorney for estate planning.

Specific State Laws

Every state has its own laws when it comes to determining who can and can’t be in a trust, will, medical power of attorney, or financial power of attorney. There are also differences between the formalities that need to be observed when signing an estate planning document. What is required in Arizona may not be necessary in Florida and vice versa.

For example, some states require a personal representative to be related by marriage or blood, or else they need to be a resident of the state. Failure to meet the above criteria means that individual will not be allowed to serve as personal representative.

Caveat Emptor

This is an old Latin saying that means “buyer beware.” The evolution of the Internet has led to a plethora of legal documents easily available online. This may make legal representation appear unnecessary. The trouble is that you can fill in your online forms quite happily, only to discover that part or all of your trust, will, financial power of attorney, or medical power of attorney is either invalid or doesn’t work as you expected. If this happens, your family may need to pay thousands of dollars to fix the mistake and will end up hiring an estate planning attorney in any case!


As we mentioned above, estate planning is a complex business, and if you own a business, are in your second marriage, have no children or children who are still minors, want to leave money to charity, or have real estate in another state, you will need the advice of an estate planning attorney. Indeed, there are dozens of other situations not outlined above where things can get complicated quickly.

Regardless of how much research you have performed, you are likely to be lacking legal expertise, and this could prove costly. If you are unwilling to pay for an estate planning attorney in a bid to save money, it is likely your family will spend 3-5 times more money on the back-end. In order to make things easier for your loved ones and to alleviate any stress you may feel, get in touch with a trustworthy real estate attorney today.

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