Frequently Asked Questions About Estate Planning

Estate planning can be complex, and clients often have many questions about the process. Below, we’ve provided answers for some of the most frequently asked questions about estate planning and administration.

Question Answer
Why should I hire a lawyer rather than just filling out forms I find online?

Hiring an attorney isn’t just paying for paper. DIY forms are not customizable, and that could create problems later on. We offer sound legal advice based on your specific case and family needs.

Can your firm represent me if you didn’t create the original documents? Yes, we would be able to help you in nearly all probate and estate administration matters, regardless of who drew up the original paperwork.
Do I need a trust?

In most cases, yes, you do need a trust. While you are alive, it is an easy and reliable system to pay your bills if you can’t do it yourself. It works better than a power of attorney and it gives more transparency, longevity and accountability. It can also avoid probate.

Aren’t trusts only for wealthy people? No, trusts are an important tool for almost anyone who worries about disability or incapacity and wants to provide some safeguards.

Will I still have access to my bank accounts if I put them in a revocable trust?

Yes, nothing will change with respect to your access or to taxes.
Do I have to pick just one executor? No, you can legally have more than one executor. In fact, one of the best ways to ensure family harmony is to give power to several trusted individuals.
I have minor children. Should I name a guardian in my will? You can do this, but you shouldn’t. Generally, judges will appoint a guardian. Instead, we urge clients to write an open letter, which we can keep in our files, spelling out who they want as a guardian and why. A will is a public document, so you may want to omit sensitive information about family members.

What happens if I lose my will or other estate planning documents? How can I keep them safe and accessible?

Our firm offers free document storage and copies and no additional cost.
Will my estate planning documents still be valid if I move to another state?

Yes, they will remain valid. The U.S. Constitution’s full faith and credit clause ensures that legal records created in one state must be recognized in all other states.

Can I create estate planning documents if I’m not a Delaware resident?

Yes, as long as your documents are signed in Delaware, they will be valid wherever you live. We have clients come to us from New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania and many other states across the country and the world because of the many advantages of Delaware law.

Have More Questions? Call Us For An Initial, No-Obligation Consultation.

Located in Greenville, the Law Office of Kevin A. O’Brien serves clients throughout Delaware and Pennsylvania. To discuss your estate planning needs with an experienced attorney, call us at 302-888-2707 or fill out our online contact form.