DIY Estate Planning - “penny-wise and pound-foolish”

Some penny-pinching tips make sense, while there are others that may sound like a good idea but can actually cause a great deal of harm.

Do it yourself (DIY) estate planning is one of those ideas that may appear promising, but in reality is a recipe for disaster. It is like the old adage “penny-wise and pound-foolish.”

First of all the laws change every few years. So how do you know you are getting a relevant document? For example, I have come across many Health Care Powers of Attorney documents that were old or obtained from the “stationary store” or the internet that were frankly devoid of relevant law and in most cases were no longer valid because they expired after 7 years (the old statutory language stated they expired after 7 years).

In other instances DIY Will(s) were not properly drafted, signed or witnessed and therefore unenforceable causing a long draw out legal battle.

DIY Trusts, on the other hand, I usually find have too much unnecessary language because the original drafter threw in the kitchen sink. They are usually an A-B Trust or QTIP Trust when one is not needed. So instead of everything going to the surviving spouse with ease, only half goes to the surviving spouse out right. The other half remains in an irrevocable trust that the surviving spouse can’t access or change, causing heart ache and costing money.

To provide you peace of mind and to ensure that your wishes will be met, and to save your family from the stress and cost of probate litigation, call our office and talk with an Estate Planning attorney. We won’t bite.

Daniel H. Alexander, Attorney / (800) 530-4529


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