With all of our lives upended by the global COVID-19 pandemic, many people that delayed planning their estate are rushing to make long-overdue decisions about the future of their assets. Estate planning is absolutely necessary for everyone, no matter what age, to ensure you have total control over how your assets will be handled in the event of your death or incapacitation. Operating out of fear and anxiety over how the upcoming months will progress, some individuals are choosing to go the route of DIY estate planning.
Check out the list below of common DIY estate planning mistakes to avoid. You will discover that although DIY estate planning may be more cost-effective at first, it ultimately leaves you far too vulnerable to detrimental, costly errors that cannot be easily rectified. Why take the chance of destroying your legacy? The only way to ensure your estate plan is complete, accurate, and legally binding is to hire an experienced estate lawyer. Contact the estate attorneys from Huber Law Group, one of the Sacramento area’s leading authorities on estate planning.
Common DIY Estate Planning Mistakes
Choosing to plan your estate with a DIY estate plan does offer a lower initial cost by avoiding hiring an attorney. However, many people underestimate the time and energy it takes to plan their estate. Most people who try to use a DIY estate plan end up confused, exhausted, and overwhelmed. The majority of individuals eventually decide to hire an experienced estate attorney, as DIY planning carries considerable potential for a variety of devastating mistakes, such as:
- Developing a Too-General Plan
A DIY estate plan is typically comprised of a “fill-in-the-blank” style worksheet produced by a legal document preparation company. These companies boast that their DIY estate plans are legally binding, but this is just not good enough to provide a comprehensive plan for the majority of individuals. Most families include at least one set of unique circumstances that are not encompassed by standardized web documents. This can include possessing assets in several states, being married to someone with children from a previous marriage, or having an estate that comes with more debt than assets.
Because they fail to take your unique circumstances into account, these types of plans are not guaranteed to address all of the essential components of your estate. While hiring an estate lawyer allows you to ask questions to ensure you completely understand your estate plan and can make any desired modifications, choosing a DIY estate plan is severely limiting and offers little in the way of support or advice. Most of the time, you don’t even know enough to know what to ask.
An estate lawyer allows you to gain a more holistic perspective when creating your estate plan, providing professional, individualized attention, and working to cater to your specific priorities. A thorough estate plan should not only focus on what happens when you pass away; it should also include plans that concern incapacitation or the need for long-term health care. If you have a business, you will need to decide whether to include this as part of your estate, as well. Finally, different states have different estate laws, making a DIY plan even more susceptible to inaccuracies.
- Neglecting to Update Your Estate Plan
Even the most well-designed estate plan becomes outdated over time and requires careful monitoring to make sure it is not unnecessarily complex and becomes revised when changes occur. Failing to update beneficiary designations means your assets could be distributed to the wrong people or that someone is accidentally excluded if they join the family after the original plan is created.
To ensure your estate includes all of your current assets and plans for their management, asset ownership must be updated, as well. This means keeping track of which assets belong solely to you, which are owned jointly with someone else, and which ones are located in trusts or limited partnerships. You should also be updating your powers of attorney, one for financial affairs and one for management of medical care.
- Declining to Seek Representation from An Experienced Estate Lawyer
Estate planning is a complicated process that requires a lot of effort, planning, and attention to detail, and any oversights can be nearly impossible to correct. It may be tempting to select DIY estate planning tools, but ultimately the potential for costly mistakes outweighs the convenience and low cost of choosing this route. Why take the chances with your hard-earned legacy?
Don’t Make the Mistake of Trying to Plan Your Estate Alone – Contact Huber Law
Despite their convenience, DIY estate plans will never come close to estate plans developed by an experienced estate lawyer. If you want to thoroughly plan for the preservation of your estate and ensure that your wishes will be honored, you need top-quality legal representation. Contact the experienced estate attorneys at Huber Law Group by giving us a call at (916) 603-2515 or visiting our website to fill our initial consultation form.