Nowadays, if you want to learn how to do something, you can simply search for a tutorial online and it will show you exactly how to do it. However, there are some things, especially legal matters, that you can’t just do yourself because, if you did, it could go terribly wrong. Estate planning is one of those things that you shouldn’t do without the help of an expert. Here are 7 reasons why you shouldn’t plan your estate yourself.
An Estate Plan Is More Than Just a Will
A will is a legally binding document that has all the information regarding the distribution of your assets to your beneficiaries after your passing. On the other hand, an estate plan is a broader term. The main aim of an estate plan is to ensure the maximum benefit for heirs or beneficiaries. There are six documents in an estate plan: a will, power of attorney, beneficiary designation, letter of intent, healthcare power of attorney, and guardianship designation. All six documents require someone who is well versed in the law to handle the delicate minutiae. The laws are constantly changing, and it’s difficult for anyone who does not practice law to keep up with them. That’s why it’s better to leave it to a legal expert, instead of risking your assets going to someone you didn’t choose.
Attorneys Know the Best Way to Protect Your Assets and Your Family
An estate plan consists of several documents, and each of these documents includes critical information. For instance, some documents may state when a beneficiary can have the inheritance and who that beneficiary is. This is important if you have minor children, as someone has to be entrusted with the assets until they come of age, which is why these documents have to be in order. Guardianship of your children is also specified in these documents. An estate lawyer will help with this estate planning process, and they will make sure that everything is covered. Legal documents are very sensitive and a wrong word or a missing signature could jeopardize the entire estate plan.
It Costs Less to Hire a Professional
If the estate plan has a flaw in it, that could lead to long and tedious court proceedings and paying a great amount of money in legal fees and taxes in the process. However, when you hire an experienced attorney, you can avoid this long process, and make it easier for your beneficiary to receive their inheritance. Also, a lawyer will help minimize your taxes. When you are preparing an estate plan, there are many deductions and exemptions that you should take advantage of. For instance, if you transfer assets to your grandchildren, you are exempted from paying taxes. When you hire an attorney who has experience with estate-related taxes and exemptions, they will help you save money where you can.
Life happens and circumstances change with it. Life-changing events like divorce, the birth of a child, marriage, death, and changes in family dynamics are inevitable. The estate plan should reflect any big life events, which means that you need to update it accordingly. An estate attorney will make sure that the estate plan is updated according to your wishes.
Attorneys Are Objective
The process of estate planning might cause you to make emotional decisions that aren’t always right, due to the sensitive nature of the subjects involved. However, an attorney doesn’t share the same sentiments you have with your family, which makes them objective when it comes to preparing your plan. They will be the necessary voice of reason providing you with unbiased and direct answers that will protect your family along the way.
Estate Planning Is Tricky
We’ve already established that creating an estate plan yourself is not an easy feat. Every word written could essentially change the entire plan, and one mistake could result in something being misconstrued. Laws are ever-changing and it’s hard to keep track of the changes if you aren’t a lawyer.
Avoid the Probate Process
The probate process means that the distribution of your assets becomes supervised by the court. The court controls the authenticity of the will and handles distributing the assets to the beneficiaries. This process can be time-consuming and a source of heartache for your family, not to mention the court fees that are required. However, if you go through an attorney and have already designated your assets to the beneficiaries, then probate won’t be necessary.
Estate planning is important because it enables you to protect your family by planning ahead. Protecting your loved ones from a long legal process and setting them up with a better future by ensuring your assets go to them is what an estate plan is all about. However, due to the complicated nature of this process, you should use an expert to handle it for you.