Some people believe their estate planning needs are simple enough to create their own wills. While you can save money going the DIY route, should you make a mistake, your family will be faced with the consequences. Your estate may end up in probate court, which can be a lengthy and time-consuming process for all involved. If you are thinking about writing your own will, The Balance suggests keeping the following points in mind.
There is no substitute for quality legal advice. Even a relatively simple estate plan will need to be structured in a certain way to ensure it is legally binding, which can be challenging when you lack certain information. Most DIY websites and books even state that the information contained within is no substitute for legal counsel, which should give you pause when setting up your will. Keep in mind that even a seemingly minor mistake can throw your estate into legal turmoil.
Also, keep in mind that there are many different laws governing certain aspects of your estate plan. Laws can affect taxes, for both you and your heirs, and also stipulate whether your plan is considered valid. Laws may also change over time, and if your documents are not properly updated, they may no longer be considered valid. While it is possible to research state and local laws on your own, your chance of making a mistake are far greater than if you received professional assistance.
DIY estate plan creation can also be a bit too generalized for most people. This is because they are created to apply to many different situations, which leaves them lacking when your plan is a bit outside of the norm. Most people fall into this category, especially if you have a lot of assets or you own property in different states.