Estate planning is something people often put off because they don’t want to pay for it and they consider the whole process unpleasant. Some people might try to speed through estate planning by downloading documents off of the internet and filling them out to create a homemade or do-it-yourself estate plan.
While you can certainly find everything from powers of attorney to last will templates online, trying to handle all the details of your own estate plan might leave you at risk of one of the three serious risks below.
It will be much easier for someone to challenge your estate plan
Your children, spouse or other loved ones could decide they are unhappy with the terms that you set and challenge your last wishes. If you have a last will or other estate planning documents downloaded from the internet and printed at home, then the chances are good that there won’t be the signature of a lawyer serving as the witness to the documents creation or the stamp of a notary.
The lack of authentication and the very real risk of fraud could mean that the courts toss out all of your carefully planned wishes.
You might try to set terms that violate state law
Probate requirements and inheritance rights are different in every state. Just reading up about the basics of New York state planning online won’t necessarily educate you about the nuances of the law. You could make a mistake regarding how you allocate your property or even how you word your paperwork that leads the courts to invalidate the estate plan.
You overlooked major issues, like tax liability
As an individual hoping to plan their own estate, you will have the opportunity to create one estate plan or last will. Without experience in the world of estate planning or with estate administration, you could easily overlook details, like whether your estate will be vulnerable to claims by creditors or subject to estate taxation.
Partnering with a professional will allow for a better evaluation of your assets and ensure that the documents you put in place will stand up to scrutiny in court. Getting professional help to create a last will or comprehensive estate plan will help protect your wishes and legacy even after you die.