The world we live in is increasingly automated and yet, as many adults born before the digital revolution will agree, this isn’t always good. Those that remember a time before automated answering services would give a kidney to never again have to “listen carefully because our menu options may have changed.” Likewise, there’s not a middle-aged person out there who hasn’t once been brought to the verge of a breakdown by a self-checkout machine. While it may be that these frustrations are minor when considered in the context of the general safety and comfort automation brings to our lives, they are also symptomatic of a larger truth: automation is not always better, and sometimes it is distinctly worse.
In the legal world, automation has arrived in the form of DIY services and self-help platforms. In limited cases, such services provide the benefit of making legal services accessible to those who could not otherwise afford them. Estate planning is not one of these cases, however. The matter is simply too personal, too complex, and too rife with risk to pass on professional guidance.
The Role of An Experienced Attorney in Estate Planning
Unlike a DIY platform, which looks only at your immediate and stated needs, an experienced estate planning attorney considers the comprehensive details of your situation. This means that they ask the questions you haven’t thought of which uncover liabilities you surely want to avoid.
An automated platform, for instance, won’t think to ask whether you have a child with special needs. This is a crucial detail because poor planning may result in your loved ones losing access to essential public benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicaid. Eligibility for these programs hinges on specific asset and income limitations which means an improperly delivered inheritance can compromise qualification. In seeking to ensure your special needs child remains secure by providing for them financially after you pass, you could well achieve the opposite which would be a tragedy of untold proportions.
Likewise, a DIY service will not ask about addiction or financial mismanagement issues affecting your beneficiaries. If a loved one is burdened by either of these struggles, an experienced attorney can walk you through trust options that ensure an inheritance is delivered in a way that doesn’t do more damage than good.
These are only two examples that illustrate the importance of working with a professional who takes a global view of your financial and family situation. Others include hurdles specific to blended families, strategies that ensure access to long-term care when you need it, and small business planning options that protect the longevity of your enterprise.
When you have worked an entire life to build your assets and support your family, it only makes sense to seek expert help when determining how to protect your legacy and your loved ones for years to come.
To learn more about the benefits of working with an experienced estate planning attorney, do not hesitate to reach out to the Hailey-Petty Law Firm either by calling (512) 910-8977 in Austin, (210) 570-2458 in San Antonio, or by using the contact form on our website.