You might have heard friends talking about an estate planning seminar they attended, or you might have seen an advertisement for such an event and thought, “That sounds like a good idea, but is it worth it?” 

The answer is “yes”!

Educating yourself and obtaining information is the first step toward creating a comprehensive and well-crafted estate plan. However, some people are hesitant to seek legal counsel for estate planning because they are scared of addressing complex issues such as death, disability and taxes, or are unsure where to begin and what questions to ask, thus resulting in procrastination. 

Attending an estate planning workshop is the perfect way for people seeking solid, reliable information to connect themselves with friendly, helpful attorneys. The workshop will provide you with a good understanding of the pros and cons of various planning options, so you can evaluate what is best for your family situation.  

You are also able to ask questions and make sure you understand all the topics covered in the presentation. It is also an opportunity to evaluate the presenter’s demeanor, communication skills and depth of knowledge.  

Typically, estate planning workshop topics include discussing advantages and disadvantages of a last will and testament and living trusts, and outlining the different legal strategies for choosing one over the other. Additional topics might include preserving your assets and your family’s inheritance from creditors, divorce and lawsuits, as well as ways to provide for special needs (disabled) children or grandchildren, blended family situations, and options for bypassing in-laws. Other topics revolve around protecting yourself and your loved ones in the event of incapacity.  

You can be sure you will get reliable, trustworthy facts that take the guesswork out of any internet searches you might have conducted.  Attending a workshop does not represent a particular strategy or one-size-fits-all solution to every estate planning need. Instead, the goal is to educate the public and help families and business owners alike.

An estate planning workshop is an efficient and enjoyable way to interact with a qualified estate planning attorney before deciding whether to work with him or her, while learning about a complicated topic that could have a major impact on your family’s future. 

Because there is so much information to unpack in a workshop, it is advisable for both spouses to attend. It is difficult for one spouse to relay the stories and their importance once they leave the workshop. At the end of a workshop, with your newly acquired knowledge, you should be in a position to help you make a better-informed decision and move forward with your planning.  

Attending an estate planning workshop is time well spent and should help pave the way for an efficient and productive follow-up meeting with your estate planning attorney to address questions pertaining to your specific situation. It is an effective way to make sure you understand all the relevant information and gain a clearer picture of what you need to do to properly plan for yourself and your family.  

Jada L. Gaines is an associate attorney with Elder Law & Estate Planning Center in Bluffton.