At What Age Should I Contact a Probate Lawyer?
Everyone prepares for end of life decisions differently. While some people, no matter their age, will never take time to create a will and power of attorney, others see this as a priority that needs to be completed early and updated often. Statistics indicate that over 40% of baby boomers do not have a will. It's not just this group born between the years 1946 and 1964, either. More than half (55%) of the entire U.S. population has not taken the time to create a will.
Probate and Estate Administration
One of the reasons many people do not take the time to plan a will and other end of life decisions is that they fear they do not have enough assets. Nothing, however, can be further from the truth. Although a simple will may be all that some people need, it will make things easier on their family if they take the time to visit with someone about probate law and decide what is the necessary paperwork they should file in their state. Since some laws and procedures vary from state to state, it is best to find will and probate attorneys who are knowledgeable about the specifics you will need.
Many people, especially elders, might be wise to make use of local attorneys so they can get recommendations from friends and family as to which probate lawyers will provide the best advice. Unfortunately, yearly financial loss for the victims of elder financial exploitation were approximately $3 billion in 2009. This percentage represented a 12% increase from 2008. Working with local attorneys can limit the chance of these financial abuse cases. Local attorneys can provide local references that can make clients feel more comfortable.
How Long Does It Take to Make a Will?
Unlike the recent threats of politicians to filibuster any Supreme Court nomination in the next six months, individual probate law cases do not need to be lengthy. In fact, some of the easiest and most simple wills and power of attorney papers can be completed in an hour. Working with attorneys who will provide information ahead of time about what to bring to the meetings, many power of attorneys can be completed in less than 30 minutes.
More significantly, the hour of time that you take now can save your family months of legal problems should you die without a will. Taking the time to create a will long before you think it will be needed can also limit the chance that you will be taken advantage of at an older age.
Consider the Future Needs of Your Family
While estate planning and the dividing of assets is the first thing that many people consider when they contact an attorney to discuss probate law, the reality is often more personal. Making the decision to plan for the end of your life is the ultimate job of all responsible adults.