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6 Dangers of DIY Estate Planning

Last updated on: November 16, 2020

Estate planning is often overwhelming, and many couples and individuals worry that the cost of writing and filing legal documents will be too much to handle. However, the consequences of doing your own estate plan with documents or guides found online can be devastating for your loved ones and beneficiaries.

1. Errors on Estate Planning Forms Are Common

DIY estate planning services and document databases often make it seem like crafting a comprehensive estate plan is just a matter of ticking the right boxes and filing the right forms. However, the forms uploaded to these services often have errors or glaring oversights. Relying exclusively on these services could lead to significant errors in your estate.

2. It’s Easy to Misinterpret Legal Terms

Legal terms, even those used in daily conversation, are easy to misinterpret. They have very specific meanings, and those outside the legal industry often misunderstand the scope or meaning of a term. Without a comprehensive understanding of the language in your estate planning documents, it’s impossible to lay out your wishes in a clear and legally enforceable manner.

3. You May Leave Key Topics Uncovered

Estate planning is a complex field that involves the consideration of many different situations and circumstances. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for estate planning, and generic services or forms could fail to address important aspects of your needs. For example, if you have a special needs child who will need ongoing care in their adult years, a DIY estate planning service may not have the forms you need to set aside money for their care or appoint a guardian.

4. Laws Change Frequently

State and federal laws are always evolving. It is extremely difficult for estate planning services that simply provide documents and generic guidance to stay abreast of legal changes. Consequently, even if you fill out the provided forms correctly and in full consideration of your legal needs, your wishes could be unenforceable.

5. You May Give Too Much Power to Another Party

Some legal documents are widely misunderstood by those outside the legal industry. A power of attorney form, when drafted improperly, could give someone full access to your finances and assets or allow them to make important decisions on your behalf. An attorney can listen to what you wish to accomplish with your estate and ensure that the language used in your documents reflects your wishes.

6. Resolving Issues Can Be Time-Consuming and Expensive

Consider the consequences of an improperly written or filed document after you have passed. Your family could be left without any understanding of your last wishes, and without an attorney to consult, they may be left guessing. It becomes even more complicated if family members disagree on what they believe you would have wanted. Careful estate planning can protect your loved ones from these situations.

A well-planned estate is one of the best legacies you can leave behind for your loved ones. Set up a meeting to discuss your goals with the team at The Matus Law Group—call us at (732) 281-0060.

Christine Matus

Picture of Christine Matus
Christine Matus

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