Many people decide that they either don’t need a will, or pass away before they can set a will in place. But if you pass away without a will, you are relying on the state to distribute your assets instead of your family. This is not an ideal situation for anyone.

But do you actually need a lawyer?

Estate planning is something that everyone should think about doing, but not everybody requires an estate planning lawyer. For instance, a person with no children and few assets could draw up a will using online services like LegalZoom or Nolo with only a little risk of complications. These online options are usually less expensive than hiring an estate planning lawyer and provide the perfect solution for simple financial situations.

But those with high net worth or complication family dynamics should consider hiring an estate planner to make sure that everything is distribution the way you want it upon your death.

Be prepared to meet with several attorneys, make sure you discuss all of the fees and get everything in writing. Also make sure that the attorney is insured, and get a copy of their insurance form for your records.

But getting an attorney is only half the battle, you have to make sure that once your estate planning has been done, you keep your lawyer in the loop if there are any changes. Marriage, Divorce, new kids – these can all change your final wishes. Make sure that the executor of your will knows everything that they need to, so that the process will run as smooth as possible.