Far too many people put off estate planning until it’s too late. Sometimes they struggle to cope with the idea of their own mortality, while in other instances people simply think that they don’t need an estate plan. Many of those who do create estate planning documents try to cut corners to save time and money, often turning to the Internet for assistance.
But relying on these self-help guides and online templates can be dangerous, which is why we discourage you from attempting to create your own estate plan. Here are just some of the reasons why you might want to forego DIY estate planning and instead choose to secure the assistance of an experienced estate planning attorney:
- Failing to abide by state law: Each state has its own unique laws regarding estate planning. Often online resources and templates don’t take this into consideration. Why is that important? If your estate planning documents fail to conform to the law, they may be found invalid. This can leave your assets at risk of being inherited in a way that you never intended.
- Boilerplate language: A lot of online documents are nothing more that boilerplate language. This means that your estate plan can turn out to be extraordinarily generic and even confusing. You need estate planning documents that are specific and clear so that there’s no second guessing your intent.
- Missed opportunities: You can make estate planning whatever you want it to be. It’s a wholly customizable process designed to suit your needs. Yet, online guides and resources often fail to give you all of your options. For example, if you worry about a loved one squandering away an inheritance, you might want to consider utilizing a spendthrift trust that restricts your loved one’s access to those assets. This can provide longevity to the trust’s assets and better ensure prolonged support of your loved one. Yet, if you didn’t know that option existed, your assets could be left at risk.
- Failing to take changed circumstances into account: Although you may breathe a sigh of relief once you establish your estate plan, you’re not finished with the process. This is because estate planning needs to be ongoing to ensure that your estate is distributed exactly as you see fit when the time comes. Therefore, you have to be prepared to address changed circumstances, such as marriages, births, deaths, and the fraying of relationships. Any of these events may justify an estate modification, but many online resources won’t guide you on how and when to appropriately initiate those modifications.
Keep in mind that these are just some of the dangers of DIY estate planning. There are a number of other risks out there that you’ll want to avoid if you hope to create the legally sound and thorough estate plan that you need.
An attorney can help you navigate the estate planning process
By choosing to work with an estate planning attorney, you can rest assured that your estate is in good hands. One of these legal professionals can help you understand your planning options and how each one can provide risks as rewards to your estate and your loved ones.
Then, once you’ve made fully informed decisions pertaining to the creation of your plan, an attorney can ensure that your documents are created in a clear and legally valid fashion. This way, you don’t have to worry about loved ones fighting over your intent and your assets.
In the end, we want you to find comfort in the estate planning process. If you’d like to learn more about what that entails, please consider reaching out to an experienced law firm that you think is a good fit for you and your circumstances.