In this article, you will learn about:
- The resources that online estate planning (and other legal services) offer.
- What limitations individuals may face in doing at-home legal work.
Do I Need A North Carolina Estate Planning Attorney Or Can I Do This On My Own Or With One Of Those Online Estate Planning Services?
Many firms in North Carolina do provide some online services, and this can be helpful because North Carolina allows for an electronic notary. If you are collaborating with an attorney through the internet and can do most things online with that particular attorney’s firm, it is possible to reduce your legal fees. Many estate planning attorneys are now utilizing a fee schedule for online services, offering a flat fee for each type of document, plus expenses. Legal Zoom is a great example of an online effort set up by a group of lawyers in an attempt to bring a lower-cost resource for clients. Giving individuals more access to affordable legal services via online materials is an exciting new development in law, and it is developing rapidly with today’s technology.
In addition to estate law, oftentimes these internet platforms are prominent in divorce law. This is likely because, in the state of North Carolina, there is a lot of online material regarding how to achieve a divorce with minimal legal representation. State websites have divorce documents available to the public, in addition to information on how to use these forms, making at-home research incredibly productive. That said, without the proper legal education, many people don’t have a firm understanding of the concepts underlying the purpose of self-help forms for both estate planning and divorce.
Documents completed at home, such as a simple will can be done efficiently, especially if the person doesn’t have a large number of assets. However, more complex estate planning may require the use of both a trust and a will for a client to accomplish hers/his estate protection and distribution goals. To create an estate plan adequately, a person needs to understand the difference between real and personal property, the difference between their probate and non-probate estate, and how to decide which part of their property will pass through probate or outside of probate. A person planning her/his estate should be factoring in possible tax consequences and possible creditor liabilities when deciding how to dispose of their assets at death. One of the most commonly overlooked aspects of estate planning by individuals is the possibility of “Medicaid look back” should the individual live out their final days in a long-term care facility. Retaining a lawyer is always the best choice to make, and if you are unsure of the level of expertise your case may require, contacting an attorney for a consultation is an important first step in your legal ventures in order to understand exactly how to achieve your estate planning goals. Bottom line, even if you use an online self-help option for drafting your own estate plan or uncontested divorce and custody arrangement, you should at least hire an attorney to review your documents and provide advice on how to make any corrections or additions necessary to insure your desired outcome.
For more information on Estate Planning Law in North Carolina, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (828) 882-2295 today.