Take Care Using DIY Estate Planning

It’s only human to not be aware of our gaps in understanding. For instance, taking on a home landscaping project like digging a trench may seem easy, but it can quickly become complicated due to underground wiring, gas lines, and pipes. The same is true for estate planning, which involves dealing with numerous complex issues such as protecting heirs, considering death taxes, complexities of prior divorce, and asset protection. It’s important to remember that estate planning will impact your hard-earned life savings and the well-being of your loved ones. Even if you believe your situation is straightforward, you’d be wise to work with an attorney instead of relying on your own knowledge and a slick looking website.

Still, if you do want to explore DIY estate planning online, I recommend the following 5 considerations:

  1. Health Care Decisions during incapacity – check out 5 wishes.org for an amazing and comprehensive way to consider all aspects of your medical care and comfort during incapacity.
  2. Power of Attorney during incapacity – who will pay your bills and take care of your finances if you are incapacitated? Please take care to use the correct form that your bank and other institutions will honor.
  3. Last Will and Testament – take care writing a will, there are lots of user friendly websites, but do you understand all that you need to in order to use them correctly? And if you want to avoid probate court, you need a trust. But do NOT use a website to create a trust. There are companies that will do it, but will it fail? It’s definitely best to use an attorney if you want a trust. And are you doing your homework after the documents are signed and notarized? For a trust to work, you have to fund it, which means retitling assets, real estate, accounts, etc…
  4. Inventory and fund your assets – are you creating a clear list of all your assets, accounts, life insurance policies, retirement accounts, stocks, cryptocurrency, and business interests? A clearly written guide for your future beneficiaries, executor and/or trustees is essential.


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