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Template Legal Papers - An Elder Lawyer’s Perspective

Preparing the paperwork to manage your assets after your passing is important. You probably didn’t need that explicitly stated but the availability of pre-prepared legal documents and the people who avail of them show up with terrifying regularity.

The promise of savings thousands of dollars; making everything faster and easier; or doing something yourself without the need of lengthy correspondence with a lawyer draw in lots of people but in the end it rarely ever works out. Once again if it seems too good to be true, it probably is and you could end up causing more harm or make your situation more difficult.

Many elder lawyers -- lawyers specializing in elder law -- have handled clients who’ve prepared ‘fill-in-the-blanks’ paperwork on their estate that turned out to be invalid. These usually create more of a legal workload to clean up which can cost much more than if the person came to an elder lawyer in the first place.

Consider the fact that laws differ in each state and need to be very specific to account for each person’s circumstances. A will, for example, must follow the law with precision, otherwise it won’t be recognized as legally valid. Specific language and plans must be used and a single mistake renders a will as invalid. Please note that a will is not something you can re-do once you’ve passed on. Your assets will be passed on to your heirs by the state rather than what you intended in such a scenario.

Not only wills but deeds as well. Properties that are not properly documented may not be properly transferred to your beneficiary. Contracts are the most commonly used pre-prepared document that may not be legally valid. Anybody can write up a contract and put in whatever clause they feel should be there for their own protection but it takes a lawyer to make sure the contract is legally valid and is protected by law and then act in accordance to the law should the contract be breached.

The temptation to save money cannot be greater than the guarantee that you are legally protected by the paperwork you prepare.  You can either pay a professional now and get it done right from the start, or you can pay a professional later to fix the situation if it turns sour.  When it comes to your assets and how you want it distributed to your heirs, you should really err on the the side of caution.

What are you paying a lawyer for exactly?

It all boils down to protecting yourself and making sure your intents and assets are handled how you want it to be. A long term care senior citizen attorney will explain the process to you and hold your hand the whole way. Everybody involved will be notified and any problems or obstacles will be addressed before the final paperwork is confirmed. This ensures maximum use out of your assets and that your wishes are actually followed through. Pre-prepared legal paperwork can never guarantee this.

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