For many lawyers, like regular people, estate and succession planning often take a backseat to the more pressing needs of the present.
However, lawyers, like regular folk, should not neglect hiring a lawyer themselves for the purposes of estate planning, as well as their own legal practice’s succession (particularly if they are a solo practitioner, or equity partner).
Can’t Lawyers Write Their Own Wills?
While yes, technically anyone can write their own will, most estate planning attorneys advise against practitioners without extensive estate planning experience doing so. The big risk, of course, involves the will being probated, which can lead to unnecessary expense, confusion, and drama, for your family and intended heirs.
Because state laws governing wills can often include rather nit-picky provisions, particularly when it comes to establishing trusts and ensuring valid execution, lawyers who do not specialize in estate planning would be wise to seek out another who does. If you insist on doing it yourself, at least check out this blog post with some tips and perhaps get it reviewed by an experienced estate planning attorney.
Find a Successor Lawyer
For solo practitioners, in addition to not drafting your own will, you may want to consider getting another lawyer involved in your succession planning. Even if you never plan on retiring, you should have a plan in place about what you’ll do if you just keel over, or get hit by a bus. After all, you don’t want your clients to suffer, and you certainly don’t want your family to have to try to sort out your law practice. If you have a succession plan in place, you may be able to afford your family some income from your work after you pass.