In this era of YouTube tutorials and robo-investing, it might seem only natural to take a DIY approach to planning your estate. After all, if online forums can teach you to fix your dishwasher without calling a plumber or set up an investment portfolio without speaking to a financial planner, why should you need an experienced attorney to draft a will? In fact, the reasons are plenty…
To begin, organizing your estate is not a simple matter of filling in blanks on a stock PDF. Many online DIY packages bury this detail and only give you access to the full range of needed documents if you pay for their premium service, thereby greatly reducing the economic advantage of this approach. For instance, few such DIY services underscore the importance of including an Advance Health Care Directive or Medical Power of Attorney document. Without this, should you become incapacitated, your loved ones may easily find themselves out to sea or, worse, implicated in emotionally taxing squabbles over disagreements about your needs.
The emotional complication of drafting a will should not be underestimated; indeed, this is another reason to consider hiring estate attorney. You may think you know how you would like your assets distributed in the event of your death but when put to the task of placing it all on paper, the complexity of family dynamics tends to arise…and surprise! Navigating trust-specific language amid emotionally fraught territory is not easy or fun and mistakes can carry both financial and sentimental costs.
Another worthwhile consideration is the fact that the burden of any mistakes you might make will not fall on you, but on the loved ones tasked with resolving your estate. While the IRS may aid in correcting any errors made in taking a DIY approach to your taxes, no watchdog—unless you count Cerberus—exists in the realm of wills and testaments. Although personalized, professional help will almost always carry a greater upfront cost, but it is worth asking what price you are willing to pay for peace of mind.
A final notable concern is the fact that each state has its own probate code or body of law governing estate planning and implementation. Local, qualified attorneys will be familiar with the nuances of this legislation in ways that online services may not. Knowing that the emotional and financial resources spent on planning your estate have been effectively employed will help you rest easy in this life and the next.
If you’d like to plan your estate the right way—and draft a will or living trust that will cover all of your bases and protect your friends, relatives and loved ones—please contact Deliberato Law Center. We offer a free consultation to new clients. Request yours by filling in the brief form below!