Estate Planning: Avoiding a Court Battle

On March 5, 2013, my wife and I celebrated the birth of my third daughter, Harmonee Janice Lohr.  My family has been blessed with the addition of this sweet beautiful angel in our lives.

The week following my daughter’s birth, I participated in a deposition in a heated case between a mother and daughter fighting over title to two homes. I was deeply saddened that day and thought back to the birth of my own child and how awful it would be to fight over material possessions with a person I love. Unfortunately, the family in the lawsuit chose to do much of their estate planning on their own without using a lawyer. Not having any legal training whatsoever, they left many holes in their trusts and estate plan. When the father/husband died, these holes became very apparent and left the parties vulnerable to a lawsuit. Had they just consulted with an attorney before the father passed away, much acrimony and hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorneys’ fees spent in litigation could have been avoided.

This is not the first time I have seen families fight over assets because they chose to act as their own lawyers and estate planners thinking that they were going to save money. Instead of paying a few hundred or few thousand dollars on an attorney to make sure their intentions were documented correctly, I have seen families forced to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees and litigation costs fighting instead.

While I don’t think that I will have the same issues with my children anytime soon considering their young ages, the recent case reminds me that even as an attorney I need to seek professional advice and do a proper estate plan for the protection of my loved ones. At Hymson Goldstein & Pantiliat, PLLC, we have attorneys with expertise to assist you with your estate planning needs so that you or your love ones do not have to go through a major court battle.  A little planning ahead will go a long way in protecting the ones you love. Remember, Our Business is Your Peace of Mind®.

Written by Attorney John Lohr, Jr.,

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