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Don't rely on non-attorney resources for estate planning

Beware of Nonlawyers Acting Like Lawyers

When people think about creating an estate plan, they may think it just involves getting a set of

forms that convey their wishes regarding their finances, health, and what will happen to their

stuff when they die. Although the documents that comprise an estate plan may seem like simple

forms, these important estate planning tools are the legally binding way for clients to manage

their affairs during their incapacity (when they cannot manage their own affairs) or their death.

Relying on nonlawyers to help with estate planning forms or provide legal advice can pose

significant risks. Many professions should not provide legal advice, but it is not uncommon for

some to cross into legal territory when they have related fields of expertise. Individuals in these

professions must recognize the boundaries of their expertise and refer clients to qualified legal

professionals when estate planning advice is needed. Additionally, consumers should be aware

of these limitations and seek professional legal help.

Reasons to Be Cautious and Contact an Estate Planning Attorney

Many different types of professionals play important roles in the estate planning process. Some

aspects of the process, however, should be handled only by lawyers. Nonlawyer professionals

do not have the same legal training and expertise that a licensed and experienced estate

planning attorney has. Estate planning requires an understanding of complex legal issues,

including tax implications, property rights, and family law considerations. Relying on individuals

who do not have the right qualifications may result in oversights or incorrect applications of law.

Other types of professionals can provide crucial information about your finances, insurance

policies, property, and other relevant issues that contribute to a comprehensive estate plan.

They can also offer expert advice regarding investment strategies, financial products that can

enhance your estate plan, and important tax consequences.

Nonlawyers often provide generic estate planning solutions that are merely templates and do

not address your specific needs and circumstances. Estate planning is highly individualized, and

a one-size-fits-all approach may not adequately protect your money and property or meet your

goals. Estate planning attorneys know which questions to ask to prevent or navigate specific legal problems and provide alternative strategies.

Estate planning laws and procedures also vary significantly from one jurisdiction to

another. Nonlawyers may not be well-versed in the specific laws of your state, leading to

incomplete or inappropriate legal documents that may not be legally valid or effective. Between

improperly drafted documents and outdated documents that must be updated as your

circumstances change, there is sure to be disappointment when you need your estate plan to


In addition, communication with attorneys is protected by attorney-client privilege, which

ensures confidentiality. Most nonlawyers cannot offer the same level of privacy, potentially

jeopardizing sensitive information and creating legal risks.

How to Find a Reputable Estate Planning Attorney

Finding a reliable and experienced estate planning attorney is crucial for ensuring that your

wishes are properly documented, legally protected, and enforceable.

Crafting the right plan for your unique situation requires working with a professional. If you have

questions about the estate planning process or are ready to get started, give us a call at 352-377-6600 or schedule a free consultation through our website at