Advance Planning: When to Consult an Attorney on Estate Planning

Stephen Laurence Hoffman

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Personal Injury Lawyer

Contributor Level 20

Posted about 5 years ago. 5 helpful votes



Talk to an attorney about your assets, liabilities, plans, and wishes

If you get sick, who pays your bills? If you are in a coma, who makes the call on when (or if) to "pull the plug?" Do you even know what your thoughts are on the subject? Not like you really want to think about it but who gets your assets when you die?


But it's expensive and It doesn't really matter

Or does it? If you want courts making decisions about your assets and your health, feel free to do nothing. However, if you really want to make sure that your wishes are carried out and that your relatives and friends do not have the burden of watching a court decide what your desires were, you should have a basic estate plan.


So what do I need?

As with any "lawyer answer," it depends. But, minimally, you should consider the following documents: a will and/or will with a testamentary trust provision, power of attorney for property and power of attorney for health care, and a living will. A careful attorney will analyze your financial situation, your family situation, and use these as the basis for answering that question. Everyone's needs are unique and estate plans are unique to the individual's needs and situation.


But if I don't do anything, what's the worst thing that can happen?

The possibilities of bad things happening are innumerable. Suffice it to say, there have been people cremated who had well-known views desiring burial, many who specifically did not want assets to go to specific people and had those people take their entire estate. If you don't write it down in the legally recognizable form, you have no way to enforce your wishes.

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