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My Divorce Lawyer Did My Estate Plan

If the attorney who handled your divorce or helped you set up a small business created your estate plan, your heirs might be in for a surprise.

If the attorney who handled your divorce or helped you set up a small business created your Will, your heirs might be in for a surprise when your documents don’t work the way you (and they) expected.

Isn’t a lawyer a lawyer, you may be asking? Doesn’t every lawyer know how to draft a Will?

Technically, yes. We all learned it in law school. The problem isn’t in the lack of technical knowledge needed to write a Will. The problem is that a lawyer who doesn’t specialize in estate planning doesn’t understand how the estate planning process is about more than just writing a Will. It’s about context. It’s about making sure you have the right plan for each of your assets to achieve your goals. A Will may be part of that plan. But it might not be. The only way you’ll know the difference is to work with an experienced estate planning attorney who can give you good advice.

The clients who come to me for help solving the problems created by estate planning documents that didn’t work as expected all have one thing in common: they didn’t get good advice—or any advice at all—about how everything in a properly structured estate plan works together. For instance, they didn't understand that assets with beneficiary designations pass outside the Will. Maybe their lawyer set up a Trust, but she didn’t make it clear that the Trust must be funded. She didn’t make it clear that the assets have to be titled properly so the terms of the Trust apply to the assets when they pass away. Those things weren’t done, and now there’s a big mess to clean up.

When a Will doesn’t work as intended, it’s because the person who had the Will didn’t get the right advice about what to do with each one of their assets. That advice is never a one-size-fits-all proposition; it is 100 percent contingent on family circumstances. The person got the documents, but they didn't get the right advice. They didn’t know that family circumstances matter. They just thought they needed a Will.

If you’re serious about having your Will work the way you intend so you don’t leave a mess for your family, you need the right advice. Kimbrough Law can help. Give us a call at 706.850.6910 to schedule a confidential consultation.


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