In the past few years, many services have sprung up that offer to help people create their own estate plans—such as by offering them downloadable forms. These services are often inexpensive but also risky.
You can find a lot of advice on the Internet that will tell you that estate planning really is not that complicated. In a sense, that advice is correct. The core of estate planning can be very simple. However, that advice makes it too easy to be deceived into thinking that you can create your estate plan on your own without the help of a professional. What an individual client has to do to create an estate plan can be—and often is—simple, but that is only because experienced estate planning attorneys do most of the complicated work. Recently, the Northwest Indiana Business Quarterly discussed the problems of creating an estate plan on your own in “Dangers of DIY Estate Planning.”
The article discusses many potential pitfalls of creating your own estate plan, but they all essentially boil down to the simple proposition that if you do not have professional expertise in estate planning, then you are likely to make mistakes that could cost you and your family. These mistakes can range from very simple oversights, such as not knowing how many witnesses are needed to make a will effective, to very complex mistakes, such as failing to properly understand how your estate planning choices effect the taxation of your assets after you pass away.
It actually does not matter very much whether the mistake you make is simple or complex because dealing with the mistake will almost always cost your estate more money than you saved by creating your own estate plan.
Do not risk these mistakes. Meet with an experienced estate planning attorney to discuss your needs.
Reference: Northwest Indiana Business Quarterly (July 25, 2016) “Dangers of DIY Estate Planning”