Due to endless Do It Yourself ads on TV and the internet, many people have come to believe that you can create almost any legal document you might need without the assistance of a lawyer. When creating budgets for clients, I always have a line item for legal expenses. Despite the supposed simplicity of online services, a sit down discussion of your needs with an attorney is vital for these top four reasons:
Wills, trusts & estates
Your will is your only voice after death. If you have determined how and to whom you want your assets distributed, you should have one of these three items locked down tight. If you have children who are minors, you should specify who is to take custody of them after you pass, however grim the thought.
If you want certain actions to be taken in case of an illness, mental decline, or incapacitation, forms such as: Durable Power of Attorney, healthcare proxies, Living Will/Advance Directive are required in order for your wishes to be met.
Special needs responsibilities
If you have a child or family member that will require special or long-term care that you will no longer be able to provide or oversee, instructions for their care, comfort and financial support should be spelled out.
According to Kate Diehm of Rucci Law Group, the most important business legal document that is most often overlooked is the partnership agreement. The best time to put one together is at the beginning of the business, while everyone is excited and friendly – it protects everyone in the event the business fails and gives guidance as to what to do if the owners’ circumstances change due to death, divorce, or health issues.
In this age of DIY, it’s important to remember that professional advice is still needed, often required, and of great value.