What Kind of Lawyer Do I Need to Make a Will?

By Laura Wallace Henderson

Lawyers supply a variety of legal services that range from defending individuals charged with crimes to providing large corporations with legal directives. While some law firms offer general legal assistance in many areas, such as divorce, adoption and basic litigation, lawyers that specialize in estate planning offer legal expertise in the creation of wills and trusts.

Estate Planning

Estate planning refers to a branch of legal practice that encompasses the area of formulating plans for the management and division of assets after your death. Attorneys that specialize in estate planning can provide valuable advice on trusts, wills, powers of attorney and legal directives regarding your wishes for terminal health care actions and restrictions. Your lawyer can provide valuable advice that may help you determine whether a trust or a will best suits your estate planning needs, based on your individual requirements and the complexity of your estate.

Responsibilities

Your estate planning lawyer can fulfill a number of responsibilities associated with formulating your will or trust. Since your will must meet the legal requirements imposed by the statutes of the state you reside in, contact a lawyer who holds a license to practice in your state of residency. It is your lawyer’s responsibility to understand the governing laws in your state and provide accurate legal advice.

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Considerations

A written contract that outlines the duties your lawyer agrees to perform for a specified fee can help avoid misunderstandings regarding the scope of his duties and your agreement. Your lawyer can help you execute your will in the proper manner, such as ascertaining that you sign all documents correctly under the observation of witnesses and notaries public.

Services

Lawyers and law firms provide various individualized services for clients who hire them to provide assistance with estate planning. Your lawyer may supply you with written directives or questions in order to gather information necessary for compiling your will, as well as help you address and consider items and issues you may wish to include as part of the final directives you provide to your executor and beneficiaries. Depending on your individual situation, your lawyer may offer to safeguard your original will in the firm’s vault, as well as provide you with presentation binders that include copies of your documents and a list of duties and directions for your executor.

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References

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How to Prepare a Last Will

A valid will lets you control the disposition of your assets after you die; otherwise, state law distributes your property to next of kin. A valid will can name a guardian for your minor children and an executor for your estate. Your circumstances dictate what type of will you need: a simple will that you can do yourself works well for if you have little property or few heirs, but legal help may be appropriate if you have more complex holdings and many heirs.

How to Address the Executor of an Estate in a Letter

Think of your executor as the co-pilot of your assets; when you are no longer able to captain your affairs, she takes over the controls and administers the estate through probate. Many people identify the person to administer their estate in their written will. If you do so, it also makes sense to leave a letter to assist your chosen executor to locate beneficiaries, identify assets and verify debt. This kind of verbal map of your holdings enables the executor to facilitate probate and wind up your estate as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Components of a Legal Will

While thinking about your death may not appeal to you, estate planning is an important part of managing your assets. Creating a will allows you to provide instructions regarding the division of your belongings at the time of your death. An attorney who specializes in estate planning can help you navigate through the laws and procedures that govern wills in your state.

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