Thursday, February 23, 2012

Oak Lawn Estate Planning | Did your old attorney really do a good job?

Problem: Your old attorney gave you your estate planning documents and sent you on your way. You have no plan for when you die, just some documents that state who your property goes to upon your death.

Needs: What you needed was a comprehensive plan that includes both a property distribution plan and the methods that that plan can be implemented.

Solution: You need to find an attorney that focuses on more than just a document "pump and dump".

It has been an unfortunate problem that attorneys, particularly older attorneys, have asked some basic questions of clients and then pumped out a will or trust for the client. They have the client come into the office and sing the documents and send them on their way. Often, the client is confused about what this document does and how anyone will be able to use it after their death. Additionally, the attorney doesn't care to help these individuals because she hopes that she will do the probate in the event of your death. What I always tell the Executors of an estate is, "The more disorganized the estate is, the more money I make." This may be why old attorneys simply dump the documents on the client and provide no instruction later. This pump and dump method was par for the course in the old days. Now, clients should expect more. The proper instruction can make the passing of a loved one a manageable process from property standpoint.

You may be asking, what things should my attorney have told me?

 This question is very specific to your situation. People have so many different types of assets and family situations, it would be wrong to try and give a cookie cutter answer. There are some pieces of information that he should have discussed with you which are almost universal to everyone. This type of information makes administrating your estate much easier. I always advocate creating a critical information sheet with your attorney that will be given to the executor that will make their life much easier. This critical information sheet will contain things that would take a good deal of manpower to find and, in some cases, may never be found. A sampling of things that should be included on this sheet would include: passwords to emails, passwords to Facebook, passwords to a blog, passwords to finacial institution accounts, location of keys to lock boxes, listing of all certificate of deposits, listing of all savings/checking accounts, names of brokerage firms, names and numbers of insurance companies, instructions for care of pets, lists of credit cards, etc.

Most Estate Planning lawyers don't even include these things with their documents. This type of estate planning is simply unacceptable. A good estate planning attorney should ensure that they are counselors and not simply a document manufacturer. There is no doubt that a good will or trust makes all the difference in the word in regards to the property going to the proper party and with the least governmental hassle. Why not choose an attorney who makes the hassle on loved ones as small as it possibly can be. After all, is that who you had the trust drafted for anyways.

For more information on getting your Will or Trust, call,

Law Office of Jonathan W. Cole
5013 W. 95th St.
Oak Lawn, IL 60453

No comments:

Post a Comment