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A Cautionary Note On The DIY Route In Estate Planning

While it’s true that you can create your own wills – hiring an estate planning attorney in Virginia is not strictly necessary – I feel obligated to at least share a word of caution with you about doing so. Using platforms like LegalZoom for a generic will might suffice for some relatively straightforward cases, such as leaving assets to your surviving children. However, this DIY approach has considerable inherent risks since these resources lack the personalized touch needed to deliver what you need and the safeguards to protect you.

On that note, it’s worth pointing out that a self-written will, even if handwritten and witnessed, requires additional steps for legal validity in Virginia: An affidavit must be filed, affirming the authenticity of the signature, absence of mental impairment, and the presence of at least two witnesses.

While these sorts of DIY options can get you a will, wisdom would have you consult with an attorney for several reasons. Attorneys possess the knowledge to navigate estate planning, ensuring you adhere to specific rules and regulations, something like LegalZoom may fail to take into consideration. Their experience means they can identify potential pitfalls and guide you through the many steps of the process. Seeking legal counsel provides a safeguard against oversights DIY solutions simply don’t have, guaranteeing your documents are not only correctly formulated but also include any necessary certifications. This translates to a smooth probate proceeding.

A Personalized Approach To Estate Planning

My approach to developing estate planning strategies is grounded in personalized and comprehensive service. I generally kick that off with a lengthy consultation with each client. This is because I need to have a good idea of where the client is and where they want to be in order to craft a plan to get them there.

Every client brings a distinct set of circumstances and desires to the table. For instance, one person’s priority might be ensuring the well-being of their child, whereas someone else might be focused on blocking the inheritance of an ex-spouse. These very different goals require a unique approach.

This principle holds true across different practice areas. Whether addressing tenant eviction concerns or crafting trust documents to secure assets for heirs, the key to being a successful lawyer lies in understanding what the people you’re serving truly need — and listening to them in order to get a sense of what that is!

Even in instances where a client seeks a simple task, like drafting a will, the approach remains meticulous. Creating a will for them without understanding their specific needs and goals would be a disservice, if not malpractice, to say the least. As such, I view each consultation as an opportunity to delve into my client’s unique situation and ensure the plan I create for them is aligned precisely with their goals.

For more information on Hiring An Estate Planning Attorney In Virginia, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (703) 775-1678 today.

Madigan and Scott Inc.

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(703) 775-1678

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