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Hiring an Estate Planning Attorney vs. DIY Wills and Trusts in Pennsylvania

June 17, 2020

With online will and trust services on the rise, you might think you do not need to hire an estate planning attorney. While many hope they will create an account, bang out the documents, and finish in time for dinner, it is not always the case. As easy as that sounds, you could end up with some problems on your hands if you create your will and trust yourself. Here are some reasons why you should hire an estate planning attorney.

Reasons to Hire an Estate Planning Attorney

Online estate planning tools make people think the process is easy. They need to choose who gets what, fill out some information, and the process is complete. Unfortunately, most people do not understand Pennsylvania’s estate planning laws. People are also prone to make mistakes and create conflict. An attorney avoids these problems.

Attorneys Understand Pennsylvania Estate Planning Laws

Each state has its own set of laws about estate planning. Yet, most online estate planning services are generic. The systems assume that people already know the necessary information, so little guidance is provided. If people need extra guidance, they might have to pay a high fee.

A Pennsylvania estate planning attorney knows that most people do not understand estate planning. The attorney answers questions and helps people avoid common mistakes. For instance, many people who use DIY services attempt to create living trusts to avoid probate or reduce taxes. While that makes sense for residents of many other states, probate is relatively simple in Pennsylvania. Also, taxes are the same for items inside and outside of living trusts in the state.

Lawyers Ensure Proper Execution

People risk making mistakes when creating wills and trusts. The DIY process typically consists of questionnaires. People often fly through the questions, forgetting to provide answers, or making small mistakes. These small mistakes give people grounds to contest the validity of the will. If the person contesting the will wins, the decedent’s last wishes will not be honored.

An estate planning attorney prepares the will, avoiding mistakes. Properly executing the will reduces the risk of someone contesting it. Also, if someone does choose to contest it, it is unlikely they will win. That means the last wishes will be honored. This is a relief to the loved ones counting on the assets.

Attorneys Help Clients Avoid Conflict

People are often stressed and lash out during times of crisis. That includes after a loved one passes away. Most people have trouble predicting future conflicts. An estate planning attorney is trained to help families understand the dynamics and avoid conflict. Sometimes, attorneys even bring families together with solid estate planning documents.

Getting Help from An Estate Planning Attorney

You want to live forever, but unfortunately, that cannot happen. While you might not live forever, your legacy can continue with the proper estate planning. An attorney understands Pennsylvania’s laws and will ensure proper execution. At the same time, the attorney will attempt to avoid conflict. Contact an estate planning attorney for help with your will or trust.

Call us for more information from Kim A. Bodnar, Attorney at Law or to schedule a consultation in our office in Pittsburgh. NOTE: This is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

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