The Many Risks Of DIY Estate Planning
We live in an era that is rich in information. Are you trying to figure out how to do something? Just look it up on the internet, and odds are you’ll find something online with instructions on how to accomplish it.
Although you may find out how to fix something with your car or house online the right way, there are risks to tackling the more complex topics. The internet is truly a great resource, but unfortunately, there are some instances like estate planning where you will need professional help.
There are platforms and form documents available online that say they can do your estate planning or help you create a will, but usually, this results in a waste of your money and potential headaches down the line for your loved ones.
Estate planning can quickly get complex, and those times require an attorney to guide you and make sure you put your family in the best possible situation after your passing. With that in mind, let’s look at why you need an estate plan.
Why do you need an estate plan?
There are many reasons why you should get an estate plan. One of the most important is to make sure you have your wishes clearly spelled out to avoid disagreements within your family down the road or if you cannot communicate your wishes on your own at that time.
1. To avoid family disagreements
A lot happens in a short period of time if you die or are incapacitated, especially if you left behind an unclear will, or even worse, a will that can’t be located at all. Family members may fight over who gets to take charge of your property, and even when they get to court, they will end up spending thousands of dollars and wasting a lot of time just for the judge to rule that your will was invalid.
In that case, you need an estate plan drafted with the help of an attorney to avoid such a mess once you are no longer around.
2. To avoid probate
Probate is the process of establishing the validity of a will. Many people arrange and get an estate plan to avoid probate. Why? Because once you create a valid will, it becomes easier to allocate your property to your inheritors.
A properly created will helps avoid fights and disagreements, and in the long run, it saves your loved ones lots of time and money that would have been used if they went to court to establish the validity of your will.
3. To reduce estate taxes
Getting an estate plan is a great way to prevent the loss of your estate to the payment of federal estate taxes and state taxes. By setting up AB or ABC trusts, married couples and individuals may reduce the estate taxes their inheritors will pay once they die or become mentally incapacitated. In some cases, they may even get lucky to do away with such taxes as part of their will altogether.
4. To protect beneficiaries
Did you know that you can also protect your beneficiaries with an estate plan? Whether it be a minor or an adult. You can set up a trustee for minors that can help them take care of their inheritance until they are of age.
For adults, you can protect them from outside influence and people who would want to take advantage of them to squander all of their inheritance by clearly spelling out on your will how you would like them to use their inheritance. By being clear in your wishes, you can avoid unnecessary disputes.
The risks involved in DIY estate planning
DIY estate planning has a fair share of risks. Some of the ones we see most often are:
It may lead to improper asset distribution
With the absence of an estate planning attorney, you face the risk of distributing your property in unintended ways. To ensure your will accomplishes what you want to happen with your estate, it’s essential to involve an experienced estate planning attorney early in the process.
It provides a false sense of security
Simply having a will does not solve all your estate planning issues. For instance, you may become incapacitated. In this scenario, you will need to have a living will or other advance planning directives to help you manage your estate.
With that in mind, you see that a do-it-yourself estate plan will not help in such a situation. To avoid all this, you should plan and get a professionally created estate plan with the help of your estate planning attorney.
The tax factor
DIY estate planning also exposes your beneficiaries to the risk of paying for unforeseen taxes. To avoid this, an estate planning attorney can help you plan for such unexpected taxes so your beneficiaries won’t have to face the struggle of paying for them.
Our Estate Planning Team Can Help
A good estate plan is detailed enough to help prevent unnecessary fights and disagreements between your loved ones once you pass away or if you become incapacitated. Our experienced estate planning team here at Schulz Stephenson Law is here and ready to help. To schedule a consultation, call us today at 252-728-7300 or fill out our form online!