Why Do-It-Yourself Estate Planning is Risky
Some people are tempted to use online estate planning software or other do-it-yourself tools to create their own Will, Revocable Living Trust, or other estate planning documents. This can be extremely risky since it can result in unintended consequences or costly litigation if a mistake is made.
Do-it-yourself estate planning tools do not involve the advice of an attorney during drafting and often use vague language or general terms that may not apply to your specific situation. If there is a mistake in your Will or Trust, or if the documents are not properly executed, it can result in costly litigation and family conflict for your heirs.
When you hire an experienced estate planning attorney, you are paying for more than just document preparation. An experienced estate planning attorney provides you with the following:
- Education – An attorney can explain each of the components of an estate plan (Revocable Living Trust, Will, Power of Attorney, Advance Health Care Directive, etc.) and how they work together to meet your unique estate planning needs. In addition, an experienced attorney will make sure that you understand your estate planning documents once they have been completed, and explain how to use these documents going forward to meet your estate planning objectives.
- Options – An experienced estate planning attorney can provide you with options to handle your specific estate planning needs to help avoid litigation or unintended consequences. For example, an attorney can help you to understand your options in the following situations:
- How do you deal with blended family issues related to inheritance?
- If your home is owned by either you or your partner but not both of you, how do you ensure that the surviving partner is not forced out of their home when the owner of the house dies, and how do you ensure that the owner’s beneficiaries inherit the house after the surviving partner’s death?
- What if you don’t have any family members or friends who can help if you become incapacitated or pass away?
- What are your options for providing for your minor children or grandchildren?
- How do you protect a beneficiary who is getting needs-based government assistance so that they don’t lose their benefits?
- How do you protect a beneficiary who is unable to manage their inheritance?
- How do you provide for a pet who may be difficult to place due to the expense of the pet’s care?
- A Resource for Future Questions or Changes – The Law Office of Carol A. Fauerbach welcomes questions even long after your estate plan has been completed, and we are here to assist you should your estate plan need updating. Our goal is to not only complete an estate plan for you that meets your objectives and specific needs, but to also make sure you understand how to best use your estate plan to protect yourself and your loved ones in the years to come.