How DIY Documents Can Lead to an Estate Planning Mishap

With the ever-increasing use of technology, do-it-yourself (DIY) online services are becoming more common. Many people use DIY services to file their taxes, pay their bills, and apply for car insurance. Individuals choose to use DIY services because they believe it is a cheaper means to accomplish what they want to get done. However, when it comes to estate planning, the cheaper option isn’t always the best.

Lack of Customization

Oftentimes, DIY estate planning services use a generic, one-size-fits-all template that may not meet each person’s estate planning needs. Every individual has unique wishes and concerns about their legacy. An experienced New York estate planning attorney can review a person’s wishes, address any concerns, and create a comprehensive estate plan to protect assets for the future.

Mistakes Can Be Made

Filling out estate planning documents can be difficult and, oftentimes, people make mistakes. The average person typically does not have a thorough understanding of the legal terminology used in these documents and are often unaware of their state’s laws regarding trusts, probate, and estate taxes.

When it comes to the execution of estate planning documents, the requirements vary from state to state. Certain estate planning documents will only require the testator’s signature, while others, including New York, require the signatures of multiple witnesses.

Furthermore, if there was a mistake made during the creation or execution of a Last Will and Testament, it may be subject to a challenge. Probate litigation can be a lengthy and costly process, and if the Last Will and Testament was executed improperly, it may be denied probate.

Unforeseen Circumstances

DIY estate plans rarely plan for unforeseen circumstances, which can lead to issues down the line. Some of the unforeseen circumstances individuals should plan for with the guidance of an experienced estate planning lawyer include:

  • Incapacitation
  • Divorce
  • Remarriage
  • Birth or adoption of children and grandchildren
  • Death of children before parents

Less Money Now, More Worry Later

While a DIY estate plan may be a cheaper option now, in the end, individuals may not end up with an estate plan that meets their objectives. Estate planning mistakes can be costly and, oftentimes, people don’t realize an estate planning mistake has been made until after the testator has passed away. Without a properly executed estate plan and without the individual present, it can be difficult to determine what his or her wishes were for establishing guardianship for minor children, distributing assets, and funeral arrangements.

An estate plan can benefit from a legal professional’s thorough consideration and careful eye. Just as you would consult an experienced medical professional to address a medical need, estate planning needs should be addressed with the assistance of an experienced estate planning lawyer.

Whether you are looking to update a current plan or establish a comprehensive estate plan for the first time, it is imperative that you consult the guidance of an experienced New York estate planning attorney. The attorneys at Wingate, Kearney & Cullen, LLP are experienced estate planning lawyers who can help you create an estate plan that can carry out your wishes and protect your legacy. Our estate planning lawyers are available to assist individuals throughout the five boroughs of New York City, as well as Nassau County and Suffolk County, with their estate planning needs. To schedule a free consultation, call (718) 852-5900 or fill out our contact form.

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