Think Twice Before Crafting a DIY Estate Plan

There’s little satisfaction in the world like the feeling you get after completing the perfect project on your own. “Do it yourself” (DIY) projects satisfy that itch to get things done – but should you DIY your estate plan?

There’s plenty of information on the internet surrounding estate planning (including right here on our blog), but there are simply too many pitfalls to trying to craft a plan without an attorney. There are several reasons you should avoid such a move and stick to working with an attorney.

You can’t fix mistakes when you’re gone

Ultimately, the main goal of an estate plan is to ensure your hard work ends up in the right hands when you’re gone. This means your estate plan will be executed at the time of your death (or at a later date that you’ve designated in a trust). So, what happens if there are mistakes?

The truth is it’s too late to fix mistakes when you’re gone. Your loved ones won’t legally be able to amend the mistakes which could lead to your assets ending up in the wrong hands. Changes to an estate plan can only be made up to the point of death or incapacitation – after those points the estate plan becomes irrevocable.

You set beneficiaries up for failure

Your beneficiaries may lose much of the privacy your estate plan aimed to provide them. Certain information within your estate can become accessible to the public should litigation or other pleadings during the probate process. Certain information is always held privavely depending on the type of document, however.

The second key issue here is that if your assets can’t be divided as you desired then your loved ones may have to fight over what they want. This can cause unnecessary chasms between loved ones who previously had no reason to put their relationship at risk.

Templates will fail you

The biggest DIY estate planning trend is on websites or office supply stores that offer free or cheap “will templates.” These templates claim to provide you with everything you need to get a legal and secure plan in place. Frankly, if it seems too good to be true that’s because it is – and these often fall short of legal efficacy.

These templates claim to be “universal” which simply isn’t how estate planning works. There are too many regulations that differ from state to state and from circumstance to circumstance. For instance, witness requirements, acknowledgements, and notarizations that are required after the admission of a will can be prepared at the same time you’re preparing a will in order to avoid having issues after the death of the testator.

The safest and most logical way to secure your estate plan is by working with an estate planning attorney. We truly don’t just say this because it’s a service we offer – we are saying this to protect you from nightmares for yourself and your loved ones. At Zamora, Hillman & Villavicencio, experience and knowledge are present in our legal representation. Our goals are based on the needs of our clients and we approach each matter with the utmost care and importance. Contact us today to get your estate plan done right.

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Zamora, Hillman & Villavicencio

Our firm deals with legal matters involving your loved ones, and our familial operation is prepared to give you caring and effective counsel during what might be a difficult or emotional time.

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