The AARP reports that 64 percent of Americans do not have estate planning documents. While “do it yourself” estate planning documents might seem attractive if you do not have an end of life plan, they are not without risks.
The advantages of “do it yourself” estate planning are clear. By performing estate planning without legal assistance, a person has the potential to save a great deal of time and money. If done incorrectly, however, “do it yourself” estate planning can lead to additional costs and other obstacles.
The Difference between “Do It Yourself” and Hiring an Attorney
There are a number of complex financial and personal issues that cannot be sufficiently handled with “do it yourself” estate planning document. As a result, while “do it yourself” estate planning documents might appear like they will save time and money, these documents are often not a replacement for professional services.
An experienced estate planning attorney provides much more than assistance with paperwork. In addition to creating the necessary documents, an experienced estate planning can sufficiently answer any questions that you might have about the estate planning process.
The Fundamentals of Good Estate Planning
One of the most important elements of good estate planning is being able to communicate what a person would like to achieve. The basic estate planning documents include advance health care directives, powers of attorney for financial matters, trusts, and wills. A lawyer is prepared the difference between these documents and recommend which forms a person likely needs.
Without the assistance of an experience estate planning attorney, you will not be able to determine what “do it yourself” documents you need. Instead, if you select “do it yourself” methods for estate planning, it is likely that the documents will fill in blanks when creating the document. During this process, there is a significant risk that you could make mistakes. In most case, a person will not realize that these errors exist while they still alive.
Weighing the Advantages of Estate Planning
The primary advantage of using “do it yourself” estate planning services is that they are often quicker and more affordable than more traditional methods.
One disadvantage of “do it yourself” estate planning documents is that these documents assume that a person knows exactly what they want from their estate plan. Because many people do not have a sufficient amount of knowledge about estate planning, it can be difficult to determine if a person’s wishes will be fully achieve through these documents.
Speak with an Experienced Estate Planning Lawyer
Estate planning is a complex area of law and if you make a mistake, you will not discover that you have done so until it is much too late. While “do it yourself” estate planning documents are often better than not having an estate plan, these documents are not without their risks. As a result, it is almost always better to retain the assistance of an experienced estate planning lawyer. Contact Ettinger Estate Planning today to schedule a free initial consultation.