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DIY Estate Planning and Why it is a Bad Idea


Only 32% of adults in the United States have a will. If you’re part of the majority of Americans who do not have a will, you may have considered using one of the numerous online resources and estate planning kits to save some money and DIY your estate plan. While this may seem like a reasonable option, there are many reasons why you should turn to an experienced estate planning lawyer.

Estate planning is a very important process of communicating your wishes on how your assets should be managed and allocated after you pass away. Trying to create an estate plan on your own can be risky. This article will discuss the risks of DIY estate planning and explain how an experienced estate planning lawyer can help ensure your interests are protected after your passing.

1. The Complexity of the Law

Estate planning is a complex topic. It’s more than just writing a will. It requires an understanding of tax laws, legal principles, and complex details of asset distribution.

The resources available for DIY estate planning only provide generalized information, whereas your specific circumstances may require more detailed information. Each state also has its particular laws regarding estate planning. Should these regulations not be followed, the courts may find your estate planning documents invalid, or they may be subject to legal challenges.

Working with an experienced estate planning lawyer will guarantee that your documents comply with the current laws. They have the knowledge and expertise to ensure your estate plan is tailored to your needs.

2. Navigating Tax Issues

There are many tax issues to consider during the estate planning process. These can include estate taxes, gift taxes, and capital gains taxes. The implications of transferring assets and inheritance can be significant, potentially reducing the value of your estate and leaving less to your loved ones.

When you turn to an estate planning lawyer who understands tax law, they can devise strategies to minimize tax liabilities. This will ensure your beneficiaries receive the maximum amount from your estate.

3. Plans for Your Specific Circumstances

Everyone’s situation is unique. That makes it difficult for DIY estate planning solutions to address the individual circumstances of the person using their service.

Your lawyer will take the time to understand your concerns and offer personalized guidance on developing an estate plan that reflects your wishes. They can provide recommendations and insights based on their professional experience and allow you to make informed decisions that align with your objectives.

4. Avoiding Costly Mistakes

One of the most significant risks of DIY estate planning is the risk of errors and omissions. An improperly worded clause or a small oversight can lead to significant problems. It can result in unexpected taxes, delays in asset distribution, and disputes among your loved ones.

Hiring an estate planning lawyer reduces the chance of costly mistakes. They are trained to ensure that your documents are legal and accurate.

5. Minimize Family Disputes

Family disagreements over inheritance can tear families apart. When you write your own will without being clear about who gets what assets, things can be even worse.

An estate planning lawyer can help mediate any issues between family members before they get out of control. This can help keep your family close and ensure your legacy lives on without animosity between your loved ones.

6. Accommodating Life’s Changes

Circumstances change. Whether from marriages, divorces, deaths, births, or changes in financial situations, your estate plan will likely need to be adjusted as life changes. Many DIY estate planning documents don’t allow the flexibility to include provisions for contingencies or modifications.

Working with a lawyer allows you to update your documents as needed. This allows you to ensure your documents reflect your priorities and current circumstances.

7. Complete Assessment of Your Assets

When creating your estate planning documents, you will need to thoroughly look at your assets, liabilities, and who you’ve designated as beneficiary. When using DIY methods, you may miss important assets or overlook things that may change over time, which can cause future problems.

An estate planning lawyer can help you avoid that. They have the experience to help identify and address potential problems such as retirement accounts, online accounts, and shared ownership, ensuring everything is noticed. They will also be able to tell you what you should avoid putting in your will.

Turn to Brackin Law Firm for All Your Estate Planning Needs

DIY estate planning can harm your legacy and cause unnecessary burdens on your loved ones. While saving a little bit of money now may sound appealing, the potential consequences it creates in the future aren’t worth the risk. Hiring a qualified estate planning lawyer will help you rest easy knowing that your loved ones are taken care of and your last wishes will be respected.

At Brackin Law Firm, we’ve been preparing estate documents for decades. We have the knowledge and experience to provide you with the estate planning and trust solutions you need to protect your family legacy.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

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