Often times, a person won’t come into contact with an attorney until there is an immediate need for certain legal services. For example, the first time a person might use an attorney is when the person buys a home and needs a real estate attorney. Because of this reality, most people won’t meet with an Estate Planning attorney until the person, or a member of the person’s family, encounters some sort of legal or medical crisis. And since these types of crises are more likely to occur as a person ages, the Estate Planning attorney usually only comes into the picture during the person’s “elderly” years.
Consulting with an Estate Planning attorney long before a crisis situation can come with many benefits. Having an estate plan in place will prepare a person with the tools necessary to deal with a crisis if one arises. Advanced planning is almost certainly better than waiting for a crisis to occur, and then to trying to figure what to do.
Most people don’t realize that there are estate planning measures that should be considered at all ages of adulthood, starting at the age of 18. If a person begins a relationship with an Estate Planning attorney early in adulthood, it will allow the person to have a protective and comprehensive estate plan that is right for the person’s age and stage of life. And as the person advances in age and experiences different life events, the plan can be modified and/or expanded, as appropriate. And, as part of their duties, Estate Planning attorneys keep their clients informed of important occurrences, like changes to laws and court decision that might be impact estate plans currently in place, or how planning will be conducted in the future.
Knowing an Estate Planning attorney will also make the person a good resource for the person’s family members and friends. If someone close to the person needs help, a referral by the person to his or her Estate Planning attorney will allow the person in need to get help quicker, and from a trusted source. Since time is usually of the essence in a crisis, making a quick introduction to the right attorney could make a huge difference in the case, especially since the alternative may be calling attorneys’ offices at random after searching the internet.
Finally, the Estate Planning attorney can be a valuable resource for things that go beyond estate planning. Estate Planning attorneys tend to have extensive networks of professionals that cover a wide range of important services, including attorneys in other practice areas (i.e. matrimonial law or personal injury law), accountants and financial and investment advisors.
Because of all that an experienced Estate Planning attorney can offer, it’s helpful to add one to your network sooner rather than later. Not only will you be prepared for what life might throw at you, but you will be in a better position to help your family members and friends.
By Wayne R. Carrabus, C.P.A., Esq., at Futterman, Lanza & Pasculli, LLP with offices in Smithtown, Bay Shore and Garden City, NY, and clients throughout metro New York. He concentrates his practice on Elder Law, Medicaid Planning, Medicaid Applications, Estate Planning, Probate and Estate Administration and Estate Taxes.