The Shortcomings of DIY Estate Planning

More than 40% of Americans live their entire lives without any estate planning. A large portion of the remaining adult population turns to DIY resources rather than going to a lawyer. Many people have drafted their own wills, prepared power of attorneys, and created other estate documents with the help of online tools and tutorials. You might believe that the DIY approach is quick, cheap, and effective, though lawyers agree to disagree.

As a matter of fact, ‘one size fits all’ is not an applicable concept in estate planning. Every individual’s family situation and financial affairs are far from identical, so the same legal paperwork is not usable in every case. Estate Planning Attorney in West Burnsville, MN, points out that the DIY approach entails cookie cutter documents, which have frequently proven to be the breeding grounds for irrevocable or expensive mistakes. Every state has its own requirements and stipulations for estate planning, so a customary form valid in on state might have no legal value in another.                                                     

The pros and cons of DIY estate planning vary by individual. If you are extraordinarily wealthy and/or your family structure is complicated, not hiring a lawyer would be the same as planning your own doom. An example of a complex situation would be multiple marriages in a lifetime, having children with more than one partner, and co-owning a multi-national business with your ex. On the contrary, if you don’t have any living family and your assets are negligible, DIY estate planning would make perfect sense. 

Many people want to believe that they can handle legal matters without the intervention of a professional. They think it will save them money and it is better than no estate plan, which isn’t entirely wrong. The DIY approach is not bad for covering the basics, but one cannot deny the shortcomings. For example, 75% of married couples who opt for DIY estate planning do not get to nominate a suitable guardian for their minor children. The universal resources they get for free may not enlist the option or they are oblivious to its significance.

The best that DIY estate planning does for most families is creating a false sense of security. They don’t realize at the time that providing one incorrect answer, omitting one bit of information, or neglecting one detail can lead to an awful aftermath. In most cases, estate planning is not an all-inclusive one-time thing. Life keeps changing, which implies that your estate plan has to be revisited and updated accordingly. For example, if you gain new real estate as inheritance, conceive another child, or outlive one of your beneficiaries, a former last will would no longer be feasible or complete.

What is the process to make amendments to an existing will, modify the provisions of a trust, or dissolve a power of attorney? In order to seek answers for all those questions and avoid all sorts of errors, it is imperative to work with an experienced estate planning attorney. Without a lawyer, you shall be blind to all the potential risks and problems down the road. You might end up excluding a rightful and deserving heir or give too much power to the wrong person.

What if you become incapacitated and someone you don’t trust gains the authority to make decisions for you? What if the will you created is denounced and rejected following your death? Save yourself and your family from all those dreadful ‘what ifs’ by hiring a competent estate planning attorney today.

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