Hiring an Attorney
When planning your financial affairs you should view hiring a lawyer as taking on a partner whose job is to provide counsel and guide you throughout the process of creating a plan that meets your goals and objectives. The relationship should be built upon trust and mutual respect.
Often I am asked…do I really need to hire an attorney, can’t I just get the forms from the internet or book store? Well…the honest answer is no, unless you are willing to risk all that you have worked for being left to the guidance of some unknown person in cyberspace, subject to unnecessary taxes or because of an error your form fails to meet your objectives and is only discovered after you have gone leaving your loved ones with legal bills to correct any problems. In most cases comprehensive planning can be prepared for a reasonable amount that eliminates the very real risk that do it yourself forms pose.
In the event you decide to use an alternative source, I recommend that a few of the concerns amongst the many you should consider are:
- Are the documents properly coordinated for post incapacity modification to allow for changes in the tax laws?
- Do the documents give the flexibility for tax allocations by your executor or post mortem planning?
- How are the problems of abatement, ademption and lapse/anti lapse addressed in the documents?
- Does the simultaneous death clause preserve the marital deduction tax advantage?
- When choosing an entity to organize your business should self employment tax advantages of an S corporation prevail over flexible management provisions, availability of special allocations for profit and loss pass through, ease of management and unrestricted ownership of the limited liability company option or vice versa?
- How should the transfer restrictions be structured for your interest and that of your fellow co-owners?
While these are just a few of matters that you should address, do it yourself forms are not just fill in the blank. What is important is the words between the blanks…words that will have significant tax and legal consequences for you and your family.