Why Do Not Do the Work of an Estate Planning Attorney Yourself?

BusinessLegal

  • Author Jim Turner
  • Published February 24, 2020
  • Word count 1,218

Thanks to the rise of the internet, it’s very common for a lot of consumers in the United States and elsewhere to believe that they can do the job of an attorney.

Here’s the problem. Just because you could do something doesn’t necessarily mean you should do it.

Think about it this way. You can find information on the internet to learn how to give yourself an appendectomy. That’s right. There’s enough information online that will teach you step by step how to take out your appendix.

Now, here’s the problem. Just because you have access to that information and you can make sense of all of it step-by-step, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should do it. There are so many things that could go wrong.

Well, you may be thinking that this is an extreme case and it doesn’t really apply to the practice of law. Well, think again.

If you are thinking of doing the job of an estate planning attorney yourself because you’re out to save some money, you have to ask yourself some basic questions that I’ve listed below.

If you overlooked these questions and just jump in, you might end up setting your estate up for failure.

If you make a mistake with a DIY plan, your family could end up in probate court after you pass away just to receive access to the assets you wanted them to have in the first place.

If you become incapacitated, your family may not have access to the financial accounts they need to pay the bills to survive.

Additionally, if your medical wishes aren’t documented properly, they may not be able to make medical decisions according to your wishes.

Lastly, depending on the size of your estate, estate taxes that could have been avoided may reduce the value of your assets.

The stakes are high. This is why hiring a properly trained, experienced estate planning attorney is so important.

Here are just some of the questions that you should keep in mind when attempting to do a DIY estate plan.

Do you have a clear idea of what you’re trying to do?

If you’re going to fill out online wills and trust forms, please understand that you have to have a big picture view of the outcome that you’re trying to achieve.

You’re not just filling out one form after another. It’s not like you’re creating an online account so you can be a member of Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.

This has real-world consequences. So be clear as to what you’re estate planning goals are.

Do you have the training and experience of an estate planning attorney?

As dedicated as you may be, please understand that an estate planning attorney not only went to law school, but more than likely has years of experience of creating wills, trusts, and estate plans.

In other words, they put in the time and the work to make sure the work is done properly and that the documents are legally binding.

The question is, do you know more than an estate planning attorney about will, trust, and probate law?

Will you be sure that the documents were created properly and that your assets are protected?

Will you even know whether or not the document is truly legally binding without the assurance of an attorney?

Honestly, probably not. Why take an unnecessary risk with something so important? It is much cheaper to do some simple estate planning with a professional vs the alternative.

While filling out forms may seem simple from your perspective, there’s a lot of negative legal consequences if you fill out the wrong form with the wrong information.

Are you sure the resources you are using a valid and current?

You may be thinking to yourself, well, I just need to download some forms from the internet, I can do it correctly.

I would know which forms to use. I would know what kind of information to put in them, and I would know how to make them legally valid.

That’s a lot of information that you are assuming.

But, where do the documents come from?

Are they accurate? How would you know if they are accurate or not?Are they valid and up to date?

How would you really know without a professional to advise you?

Can you keep up with changes in the law?

Depending on the state you live in, wills, and trust and estate planning issues might be a contentious or constantly changing area of the law. The problem is, you wouldn’t know if you are not a lawyer.

You have to stay abreast of the latest developments in estate planning. Otherwise, you might be approaching this situation with the wrong assumptions and come up with the wrong decisions as far as your asset disposition goes.

It may well turn out that if you planned your estate a certain way, you don’t have to pay much in taxes.

But if you overlook a small detail, it may mean a difference between very little taxes to pay and tens of thousands of dollars in tax liabilities for your heirs. This is a big deal.

Can you live with the risk you’ll make a mistake?

Make no mistake, the reason why people hire an estate planning attorney in the first place is they want peace of mind knowing that their estate is in good hands and was secured properly by a professional.

That’s why take their time to select somebody with the experience and knowledge required to produce the outcome the client is looking for.

If you do the forms yourself and make a mistake, are you ready to live with the consequences of that mistake? Are you aware of how likely that mistake could be?

Do you think your family is prepared if you mess it up?Will you be able to absorb the cost if you make a mistake?

Conclusion

Will, trust, and estate law is very complex. To learn it, attorneys go through years of law school and years of dedicated practice.

The internet has made it seem like all you need to do is fill out a couple of papers to have a comprehensive estate plan.

But, where do the documents come from? Are they accurate? Are they valid and up to date? How would you really know without a professional to advise you?

The risks of having an invalid plan can be huge. Your family could end up in probate court after you pass away just to receive access to the assets you wanted them to have in the first place.

If you become incapacitated, your family may not have access to the financial accounts they need to pay the bills to survive.

Additionally, if your medical wishes aren’t documented properly, they may not be able to make medical decisions according to your wishes.

Lastly, depending on the size of your estate, estate taxes that could have been avoided may reduce the value of your assets.

Working with a professional estate planning attorney can make sure your plan are done right and can save you and your family money and heartache in the future.

Jim Turner is a USA based author of Legal issues related to estate planning, will & trust , business law and elder law .Jim Turner does

his best writing on these topics that helps users to find the best solutions to their FAQ on estate planning , probate , living trust.

https://rochesterlawcenter.com/

https://rochesterlawcenter.com/client-reviews/

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