Common Mistakes with DIY Estate Plans
The internet offers all the information and tools we need at our fingertips to create our own estate plan, right? For most people, this is simply not true. Although your DIY “estate plan” may initially cost only $49.95, it may end up being much, much more expensive than an estate plan designed by an experienced estate planning attorney.
Wills are only one part of a comprehensive estate plan that fully protects you and your family. Even if your DIY will meets all your state’s requirements and is legally valid, the will alone is unlikely to be sufficient to address all of your estate planning needs. Furthermore, DIY packages you can buy online that purport to be comprehensive may not include important documents you may be unaware that you need.
DIY estate plans may not conform to the applicable law. The law that applies to estate planning is determined by each state—and there can be wide variations in the law from state to state. Although the forms you can find on the internet may claim to conform to your state’s law, this may not always be the case.
Your DIY estate plan may not account for changing life circumstances and different scenarios that could arise. For example, if you create a will in which you leave everything to your two children, what happens if one of those children dies before you? Will that child’s share go entirely to his or her sibling—or will it go to the child’s offspring? What if one of your children accumulates a lot of debt? Is it okay with you if the money or property the indebted child inherits is vulnerable to claims of the child’s creditors? What if your will states your daughter will receive the family home as her only inheritance, but it is sold shortly before you die? An experienced attorney can help you account for life changes like these.
Assets may be left out of your estate plan. Many people do not realize that a trust is frequently a better estate planning tool than a will because it avoids expensive, time-consuming, and public court proceedings (i.e., the probate process) that would otherwise be necessary to transfer your money and property to your heirs after you pass away. Even if you have created a DIY trust, if you do not fund it, that is, transfer title of your money and property into the name of the trust, it will be ineffective, and your loved ones will still have to endure the probate process to finish what you started.
We Can Help A DIY estate plan can lead to a false sense of security because it may not achieve what you think it does. Call us today so we can help provide you and your family with the peace of mind that comes from knowing that you have an estate plan that accomplishes your goals and will avoid unnecessary headache later. (614) 429-1053