What is the lawyer's role?
It is easy to be lured by advertisements claiming you can save time and money by drafting your own will or trust using do-it-yourself websites, retail software, or fill-in-the-blank will or trust kits from the bookstore. It is unlikely that these alternatives will generate a suitable plan that accomplishes all of your objectives. Only a qualified trusts and estates lawyer can interpret the myriad laws bearing on property rights, taxes, wills, probate, and trusts. More important, canned programs and forms cannot provide the wide range of legal advice to ensure that the form is correct, that assets passing outside of your will or trust are properly handled, that state law nuances are taken into account, or that relevant tax, legal and personal issues are properly addressed.
Keep in mind that the process will be most effective if you prepare for your consultation. You should organize your information regarding your assets, liabilities, and title arrangements and think about your feelings regarding provisions for various family members. We provide a helpful worksheet that will guide you through this process. Please also try to provide copies of important documents such as previous wills or trusts, powers of attorney, life insurance policies, employment benefits, and prenuptial agreements and divorce decrees.