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Pitfalls of Do-It-Yourself Estate Planning

estate planning attorney

If you're just getting started with estate planning, you may be wondering if you really need an estate planning attorney. Many estate planning kits are available online at very low prices. These options can make creating an estate plan seem like a fast, simple process, but paying less upfront could cost more in the long run.

If you're tempted to handle your estate planning yourself, there are a few pitfalls you should be aware of. However, most people need estate plans that are uniquely tailored to their lives and financial circumstances.

Without help from legal professionals, you may still have to undergo the probate process, which means that distributing your assets can involve a lengthy process. Here are some things to keep in mind as you make plans for your estate.

Let’s Take a Look at Estate Planning and Get a Better Understanding

Estate planning determines what happens to your estate after you pass away. Your estate includes all of your assets, from bank accounts to real estate to personal property like art and jewelry.

The estate planning process involves documents like trusts and power of attorney (POA) documents that determine how your estate is handled after your death. Trusts, for example, allow for the immediate, seamless transfer of assets without having to go to probate court.

In most cases, an estate plan will include instructions on how to settle your affairs and transfer assets to your beneficiaries. Ideally, you will find ways to transfer them that benefit your heirs by reducing taxes and legal fees. A poorly-drafted plan makes inconveniences for your loved ones

Pitfalls of DIY Estate Planning

DIY estate planning can be convenient and available at a low price. The plans available include some basic information about how to create a will or other documents. However, DIY guides lack the detail and specificity needed to adequately protect you and meet your needs.

DIY Online Templates May Not Conform to State Law

One of the main problems with online templates is how generic they are. If you are relying on a template to create a will, be aware that it may not fit the laws in your state. Laws around estates vary on a state level, so using the wrong template could render your will or other estate documents invalid.

Estate planning templates may seem convenient, but in practice, they often require many changes from lawyers to fulfill their purpose.

Resources Available Online Are Not Detailed

One of the main benefits of an estate plan is the ability to customize it to make sure that all of your unique needs are met. When you create one using templates and guides, there is very limited information available to you. This makes it more difficult to create a plan that truly benefits and protects your estate.

A law firm that specializes in estate administration can provide solutions to any questions you may have, such as how to distribute assets to a disabled beneficiary or how to protect assets. A one-size-fits-all guide won't have the information you need to address these concerns.

Lacks Accountability

Planning an estate takes a lot of effort and attention to detail. When you handle it yourself, you'll need to double-check your own work and make sure that everything is done correctly. There's a lack of accountability to anyone other than yourself, which means that mistakes can easily slip through the cracks.

However, when you work with a good estate planning attorney, you can hold him accountable for your estate plan. By hiring a professional, you'll be treating estate planning with the importance it deserves. You'll also get assurance that your assets are protected as much as possible.

Estate planning attorneys have years of experience and insight into the law, and they will help you cover all your bases and provide any changes as needed.

DIY Estate Plans Are Not Comprehensive

Most DIY plans only cover the very basics of estate planning. The information they provide may only be applicable to basic estate planning matters, like wills. Depending on your circumstances and how you want to transfer assets, that may not be sufficient for your legal needs.

A lawyer can help you cover all your bases and meet certain criteria that may be important for your lifestyle. Expertise in elder law, for example, can help you ensure that you are cared for as you age.

On the other hand, the power of attorney is a document that allows you to designate someone to handle your legal, medical, and financial affairs if you become incapacitated. You can also make provisions to your plan to pay for long-term care.

An advance directive is another important document that outlines your preferences for end-of-life care, including whether you want to donate organs, whether you want to be resuscitated, and more.

DIY Estate Planning Does Not Work for a Complex Family Situation

DIY estate planning information is available in books and online. However, the complexity of estate law can't be summarized in just a few pages.

If you have a complex family situation or a unique financial situation, these low-cost kits may not provide all the information you need. For example, if you have minor children that you want to protect, there may be a family law aspect to your planning needs.

Many attorneys can also help you figure out how to distribute your assets to your beneficiaries as smoothly as possible by using trusts. They can also suggest asset protection techniques that can reduce taxes or keep assets safe for beneficiaries with irresponsible spending habits.

Everyone's family and financial circumstances are different, and templates aren't up to the task of customizing your plan. Working with a legal and financial advisor is the best and fastest way to address your specific needs.

Why Do You Need to Hire an Estate Planning Attorney?

Hiring an estate planning attorney is a worthy investment for anyone who wants to handle their assets wisely. Professional legal or tax advice can save your beneficiaries significant time and money.

Handling the planning process on your own can lead to serious issues that can cost your loved one's time and energy. To get a solid, reliable plan in place, you can get in touch with an estate planning attorney near me.

Never Leave Your Estate Planning to Chance

Estate planning is one of the most important forms of financial planning. It enables you to put your final wishes into writing and make sure that they are carried out after your death. If you are going to go to the trouble of creating an estate plan, make sure that it serves its intended purpose of protecting your loved ones.We specialize in helping clients avoid probate court and keep their estates intact. To schedule a free consultation with our licensed estate planning attorney and learn more about our services, contact us at 949-867-4818 at Parker Law Offices today!

Maria Parker assists her clients plan for their end of life health care wishes and the ultimate distribution of their wealth after death. She personally experienced the importance of planning at the time her father passed away.

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