ASK TOM: Do I Need an Attorney to Prepare my Estate Planning Documents?

May 29, 2020 | Estate Planning

Creating an estate plan is one of the most critical things you can do for your loved ones. You are not required to have an attorney prepare your estate plan as long as it meets legal requirements of your state. When my daughter was a child, I drove her to a dentist to have a tooth pulled. In the parking lot she noticed other businesses and asked, “what is a Podiatrist?” I told her that I contacted the Podiatrist, who specializes in feet, to remove her tooth because the Podiatrist charged less money than the dentist. She did not think that was a good idea. It is important to consider the value of expert advice whether you are having a tooth removed or need to do your estate planning after decades of working to save for retirement.

We met with a client who completed their own estate plan using a software package. They did not feel comfortable and so they contacted us. We reviewed the estate plan they prepared and noted that two documents did not meet current state law requirements along with other errors that could cause problems in the future. Specifically, Utah enacted the Utah Advanced Health Care Directive Act effective in 2008, and the Uniform Power of Attorney Act effective in 2016. The software program they purchased in 2020 did not comply with either of those not so recent law changes. We assisted this client with a proper estate plan that achieved their goals and gave them peace of mind.

JensenBayles, LLP and Thomas J. Bayles have actively provided advice in the areas of trusts, wills, probate and tax planning in the St. George market for over 20 years. Please visit our website or call 435-674-9718. The information in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be construed as legal advice.

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