Clearing Up Some Common Misconceptions

We attorneys spend a lot of time talking with clients who come to us with preconceived notions of what should or shouldn’t, can or can’t be done in a wide variety of situations. Below are some of the most common misconceptions that we deal with on a regular basis.

First is the misconception that a will is all that is needed to avoid probate and to ensure a quick, orderly and inexpensive way for your family to settle your affairs after your death. On the contrary, if all you have is a will, and if at the time of your death you own assets that are titled in just your name, the need for probate is pretty much a given. Comprehensive estate planning that includes a revocable living trust is still the best way to avoid probate, maximize flexibility and make certain that your wishes are followed at your death.

Second is the belief that you can save money on attorney fees by relying on the opposing side in the transaction to generate the documents. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is much more cost effective for us to control the documentation from the outset than to deal with documents that someone else drafted, especially if that “someone” is a layperson who cobbled something together based on templates found online or through other sources.

Third is the notion that documents found online are just as good as anything an attorney can draft. There are a number of significant problems with this thinking. To begin with, because the interests of multiple parties to a transaction are never the same, one-size-fits-all, generic templates are rarely advisable. More importantly, documents that are intended to address legal issues must necessarily deal with a wide variety of legal concepts and principles, the intricacies and ramifications of which are not commonly understood.

Thinking about an estate plan, contemplating a transaction or have some documents you don’t understand? Contact Wright Beamer at (248) 477-6300 or visit our website. We can help.

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