Today we can do almost anything online. From hiring a contractor to buying a car, it’s easier than ever to skip traditional appointments and processes by taking matters into our own hands. While this approach is convenient in many situations, it’s never wise when preparing wills, trusts, powers of attorney, healthcare directives, and other documents that establish your end-of-life wishes. If you’re torn between working with an estate planning attorney and taking the do-it-yourself route, Park Place Financial explains six important benefits of hiring a professional to create estate planning documents.
1. Important Documents Are Always Up-to-Date
Too many people assume that creating a will or trust is a one-time endeavor. Yet it’s likely that decades will pass between the drafting of these documents and their implementation. The plans that once formalized your goals and wishes are likely to change during the intervening time and may be dramatically different than they once were. Just a few of the life changes that may warrant an update to your estate planning documents include:
- Divorce or the death of a spouse
- Starting a family
- Major purchases, such as property
- Starting or selling a business
- Retirement plans
- And more…
A change in your financial circumstances also merits a review of estate documents, as you may wish to adjust your plans to minimize the impact of estate taxes and probate costs on your assets. An estate planning attorney can suggest relevant changes and conduct regular reviews to ensure your documents still reflect your desires and the realities of your estate.
2. Legal Compliance
Probate and trust laws are exceptionally complex. What’s more, they vary from state to state and are constantly evolving. While do-it-yourself options technically provide all the instructions required to complete your documents, this leaves a significant margin for error.
Even if you manage to prepare your documents in compliance with state regulations, it’s likely that changes to the legal code will require updates in the future. Trusting your estate planning documents to a professional helps ensure someone with extensive training and experience oversees their creation. It also ensures an attorney monitors changing trust and probate laws for complete adherence in the structure and phrasing of your documents.
3. Estate Planning Documents that Represent Your Wishes
The complexities of legal language often cause another problem with do-it-yourself estate planning documents: they don’t say what you intend them to. Even the most detailed forms and instructions can’t compensate for the oversight of an estate planning attorney who deals in the intricacies of legal language day-in and day-out.
Going it alone often fails to communicate your wishes accurately and in the correct terms. You’ll see any money you saved by doing it yourself wasted on redoing the documents with a professional. Even worse, these miscommunications may not be discovered until after your death or incapacitation. Then, it will be impossible to amend the documents to allocate assets, make donations, or carry out important preferences.
4. Fully Customized Documents Tailored to Your Needs
When you purchase wills, trusts, and other estate planning documents, what you’re really getting is a fill-in-the-blank worksheet at best. This may accommodate some individuals with simple goals and basic assets. In most cases, however, it lacks the customization required to accurately reflect your wishes and suit your circumstances. These documents also typically fail to account for some of life’s more complicated situations, such as disability trusts or controlling interests in business ventures.
Do-it-yourself estate planning documents also fail to provide two important aspects for finalization: witnesses and the signature of a notary public. An estate planning attorney will ensure that these details are finalized with no additional hassle for you.
5. Informed Legal Advice to Guide Your Decisions
You might assume that creating a will or trust covers your bases with a plan for all your assets and property. Unfortunately, this is not the case, and too many families realize it too late. No matter how comprehensive the estate planning document, it may not cover some accounts that require independent beneficiary designations or special handling.
Estate planning attorneys can conduct a thorough review of all your property and assets and determine which items require special language to work with your documents. Additionally, they can help ensure beneficiaries are adjusted across the board as needed. Tying up these loose ends helps ensure your wishes are honored and circumnavigates the delays and excessive costs associated with probate proceedings.
6. A Resource for Loved Ones at a Difficult Time
Beyond the issues that a do-it-yourself will or trust could create for you, it’s important to consider how this approach may affect your family. These documents become relevant during an extremely difficult time, and your spouse, children, and other loved ones will be left to navigate not only the complexities of legal documents but also their grief.
Hiring a well-qualified estate planning attorney provides a helpful guide for your family during this period. They will have someone to answer questions and make it easier to carry out your wishes. Plus, you’ll enjoy peace of mind knowing that the ones who matter most are in good hands.
Learn More About the Benefits of Hiring an Estate Planning Attorney
Do-it-yourself estate planning documents may leave you with a will, trust, or other important directive that fails to meet your needs. Don’t take risks with your assets and end of life wishes. Instead, turn to an estate planning attorney with Park Place Financial. Our in-house specialist will create fully customized estate planning documents that meet your needs, adapt to changing circumstances, and protect your accumulated wealth. Contact us today to learn more.