Why Should You Be Careful in Using a Non-Lawyer to Prepare an Estate Plan?
Did you know legal documents are meant to be binding in a court of law? In order for this to happen, however, they must be drafted in very specific ways. In an effort to save money, some people will attempt to have a non-lawyer prepare their legal documents. Unfortunately, this can be a very serious problem in a number of ways.
The biggest problem with a non-lawyer drafting any form of legal document may be that they are not trained to do so. This means they do not know all of the requirements that go into planning and creating specific types of legal planning documents. Whether you are getting a last will and testament drawn up or a trust agreement, there are specific rules and requirements from our state that must be met. A non-lawyer may try to draft these documents, however, in many cases they may not know everything that needs to be included to reach your planning goals for yourself, your loved ones, and your legacy.
Why does it matter whether a non-lawyer is fully trained or not? It matters because a document that he or she creates may or may not work when you need it to. We know as estate planning and elder law attorneys just how dangerous this can be. Imagine a situation where you were relying on a durable power of attorney to give legal authority to your child to act for you in the event of your incapacity that did not work. Your child would be unable to access your bank accounts, pay your bills, and may shoulder much of the burden, simply because your document was created by a non-lawyer who did not understand the rules.
Further, imagine this scenario at the time of your passing. If you are drawing up a last will and testament, with someone who is not trained to do so, this could mean that someone who you did not want mentioned in your estate plan may now be entitled to a portion of your estate that you did not want him or her to have.
When you hire a licensed attorney you are working with someone who understands all of the requirements to draft your legal documents. This allows him or her to create legally binding documents that follow along with your wishes. This is an important step in achieving the desired outcome and protecting your legacy. Where a non-lawyer may be able to create what you are looking for, he or she may make some mistakes along the way. This could result in you not getting the outcome you expected. A lawyer can identify the potential for problems down the line that he or she knows only from training and experience.
If you need an estate plan created, we encourage you to avoid the potential problems that a non-lawyer may create and give us a call to schedule a meeting. We can help you with developing a plan that reflects who you are and what you want for the future. All you need to do is schedule an appointment and let us know what you need.