If you start to develop an interest in planning for the future and you are like most people you will probably start do some research on the Internet. When you do you will invariably come across websites making the claim that estate planning is something that you can easily do by yourself. They will sell you a do-it-yourself estate planning kit and all you have to do is fill in the blanks and you’ll be good to go.
When you see these claims being made it is a good idea to take pause and apply some common sense to the equation. Estate planning involves preparing all the assets that you have been able to accumulate throughout your life for transfer to your loved ones. Doing this requires execution of legal documents, and they do not exist in a vacuum.
If you use a last will to transfer your assets, and most do-it-yourself estate planning kits would provide a generic will, it is going to have to pass through the process of probate. The probate courts are not identical in every jurisdiction and no one document can be crafted to meet the expectations of every probate court in the country precisely.
Any time you are involved in drafting legal documents you are doing so because you want them to be legally binding; that’s the whole point of putting something in writing. When you are talking about a matter as profound as your legacy, why would you even consider attempting to plan your estate without legal advice?
There are a lot of different things to consider when you’re planning for the future, and the layperson would have no reason to understand them all. Plus, the last will is not your only option as a vehicle of asset transfer and may not be the best one in many cases. To be sure that your estate plan is ironclad and truly reflective of your wishes, make preparations with the assistance of an experienced estate planning attorney.
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