An estate plan is a necessity for anyone who is a legal adult and has any type of assets, whether it is property or cash. If you pass away and you do not have your estate in order, your death can result in some expensive problems for those left behind.
Although many people want to save some money by using free estate planning tools, you will benefit much more by using an attorney to help you with your estate plan. So many parts of the process can result in mistakes that could have disastrous results. Here are some of the most common issues with a do-it-yourself estate plan.
Dealing With Probate
The goal of most estate plans is to have the process settled quickly so everyone can move on. Probate can last for many years, tying your assets up and preventing access to money your remaining loved ones may rely on to live once you are gone. Probate is also very expensive and leaves little to the imagination when it comes to privacy, as it is public record.
In order to limit issues with probate, you should use an attorney who understands how to deal with probate and how to write your will so that it doesn't cause conflicts.
Using the Wrong State Laws
All states have different legal requirements when it comes to estate planning. If you DIY your estate plan and fail to use the laws mandated by your state, your will could be null and void once you pass away. For instance, Wisconsin law does not require notarized wills, but they do have to be self-proving. If you fail to properly construct your will, it will not be executed.
An attorney licensed in your state will know all the proper laws to apply when it comes to planning your estate. You will not need to be fearful of something going wrong with your asset distribution once you pass away.
Dealing With Your Children or Dependents
If you have children or others who are dependent on you, you need to ensure they will go to those whom you wish to care for them. When you handle your own estate planning, you run the risk of mistakes when you name guardians.
Not only will an attorney ensure your children and dependents go to the guardians you desire, but he or she will also help you work out a plan to ensure they are financially set with the assets you leave behind. Your attorney can set up trusts for all the dependents so they are used solely for their care and by those you name as guardians.
Handling Possible Disputes in Your Family
When you have a solid estate plan facilitated by an attorney, you can have full confidence you won't have any problems within your family once you are gone. This is not the case if you do your own estate planning.
Whether you have a family full of tension or you all got along perfectly, the circumstances can change when there is an estate to deal with. For instance, if you have a classic car you want your nephew to have and you only made it known orally, your immediate next of kin can argue your nephew should not receive it because it was not in the will.
When you plan your estate, you need to remember you always get what you pay for. An estate plan is unique for everyone. No cookie cutter template exists that everyone can use for a fully functional estate plan. Although some of the DIY software options and tools available look official, you will never know for sure until you let an attorney review your estate for you.
If you have any questions about your estate plan or if you would like help or guidance with your planning, please contact Gabert, Williams, Konz & Lawrynk LLP.