Don’t Play Attorney

Far too often people believe they can handle estate planning or an estate administration without retaining legal counsel, and far too often they are wrong. Understanding estate laws and procedures is a complex and nuanced matter which a knowledgeable estate planning attorney in Raleigh NC can help navigate.

A man once wrote his mother’s will for her in order to save some money. He and his mother believed that this was something they could easily do without an attorney. The result was a will that was very specific in places and very ambiguous in others. Shortly after her passing the gentleman qualified as Executor before the Clerk of Court. When it came time to file the accounting with the court it was discovered that he had improperly distributed the assets of the estate. After giving him several opportunities to correct his error, and being advised to seek legal counsel, the Executor was ordered to appear for a hearing before an Assistant Clerk of Court.

At the hearing, the Executor argued that he was carrying out his mother’s wishes as she had expressed them to him before she passed. While she may have told him her intent, because they were not expressed in the will they could not legally be carried out. During the hearing to Assistant Clerk instructed the Executor to “stop playing attorney.”

The result of the hearing was the Executor being ordered to reimburse the estate the value of the improperly distributed assets. At this point, he finally realized that he needed an attorney to help determine the proper distributions and file an approvable accounting with the Clerk of Court. Had the will be written by an attorney, and had the Executor retained an estate planning attorney in Raleigh NC before beginning the estate administration, he would not found himself in such a precarious and expensive situation.

Practicing law without a license is not only illegal, but it is also dangerous and will result in very expensive complications. When doing any type of estate planning or before beginning an estate administration you should speak to a knowledgeable attorney who can help guide you through the maze of planning and estate administration. When someone “plays attorney” and drafts legal documents it is usually with the best intentions at heart, but too often complicate matters creating more stress and expense. As the Assistant Clerk so aptly stated, don’t “play attorney,” instead hire an estate planning attorney in Raleigh NC who can give you the guidance you need.

Eldreth Law Firm, PC | Estate Planning Attorney in Raleigh NC

If you don’t have an estate plan in place or haven’t reviewed yours in several years, now might be the best time to start. Our lawyer is here to help you get your estate planning in Raleigh NC in order and ready should you pass in an untimely manner or become incapacitated at some point.

It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to an estate plan. Contact our estate planning attorney in Raleigh NC to get started today. As always, feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have about estate planning. Also, contact our attorney to schedule a consultation if you have yet to start estate planning. It's never too early to make plans for your wishes upon death. In addition, our attorney is here to help you with all your legal matters, whether it be estate planning, small business, trademarking, copyrighting, or other issues.

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