VanNess & VanNess, P.A.

Possible disadvantages to a do-it-yourself estate plan

Florida residents who are planning their estate may want to use an online model. However, this could result in a plan that is prepared incorrectly or is incomplete. Working with an attorney may help to ensure that the estate plan is less vulnerable to legal challenges. For example, one common missing step that people creating a do-it-yourself plan might make is failing to fund a trust once it is created. Trusts in particular are complex vehicles that are better drafted with legal guidance.

Having an attorney create an estate plan might also make it easier to resolve disputes. For example, two brothers were arguing over a second will prepared by their mother. One brother claimed that the other brother had coerced their mother into preparing the second will. Both wills were do-it-yourself documents. Had an attorney been involved, it might have been easier to resolve the case because a disinterested third party may have been able to offer insight into the reasons for the second will.

More complex situations might also benefit from professional assistance. A woman whose husband died when their children were young wanted to create an estate plan that would protect their sons if she remarried. She also wanted to take into account the fact that the children might inherit the rare disease that killed their father.

Some people may think they do not need to do any estate planning since they have few assets or no dependents, but an estate plan can be important for all adults. A will can list where a person wants sentimental items as well as items of value to go. Furthermore, after talking to a professional, a person might find that a tool such a trust is a good solution to some problems such as the possibility of a relative wasting a lump-sum inheritance.

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