Oftentimes, persons underestimate the value of an experienced team of professionals and take on the task of handling estate planning on their own. The multitude of complex legal issues involved in such an undertaking deem it a matter best left to an expert. Here are some of the top reasons why estate planning yourself is a bad idea:
1. The Legal Matters Involved
There are many different legal components to estate planning, such as tax laws, wills, trusts, and probate. If not well versed and up-to-date in all of these areas, it could end up costing families a lot of money.
2. Estate Planning Can Be Complex
Estate planning is not always simple. In fact, the more personal property involved, the more complex planning an estate becomes. Some require the establishment of trusts, transfer of property, and/or other measures to ensure that assets are protected. Trying to do all of this alone can be overwhelming, and can easily be done incorrectly.
3. Mistakes Can Be Costly
Mistakes in estate planning can end up costing loved ones thousands of dollars. For example, when ownership of personal property is transferred incorrectly, the family could end up paying inheritance taxes on the property. Another possible problem is that when a trust isn’t properly established, beneficiaries can end up with less money than intended.
4. Proper Planning is Time Consuming
Estate planning often requires gathering a lot of information and making complex decisions. Everyday life is already busy with work, home, and family so time to devote to estate planning is likely scarce.
5. The Unforeseen
Time again sudden and unforeseen events leave people incapacitated, unable to handle estate planning, determine course of care, and/or a number of other end-of-life decisions, burdening spouses, children, or other kin with determining matters regarding your care and assets without input. In order to successfully avoid this, you should designate a trusted person to handle your estate planning before a life changing event occurs.
6. Unexpected Death
Passing without a will or estate plan means your family will have to go through the probate process. This is costly and time-consuming; the more money involved in an estate, the higher the up-front and out-of-pocket expense is for loved ones to access it. Avoid this, have a plan in place so that heirs are clear about what to do with your assets when you pass.
7. A Professional Can Help Save Money
Many people think they’ll save money by doing their own estate planning. However, this is often not the case. A professional can help take advantage of tax breaks and other opportunities to save money on estate taxes.
8. Professionals Help Plan the Future
A professional estate planner can help make difficult, painful, emotional decisions and plan for the future, including what will happen to your assets, care, and/or children if you were to become incapacitated or pass away. Knowing loved ones will be taken care of after you’re gone can bring about peace of mind.
9. Updates Are Likely
If you do your own estate planning, you may not be able to make updates to the plan if/when your circumstances change through life events such as marriage, divorce, birth, death, etc. When choosing to work with a professional, changes can easily be made to a plan as needed.
Estate planning should never be procrastinated. The first step in estate planning is to get organized. Gather information about your assets, including bank accounts, investment accounts, real estate, and personal property. Next, think about who you’d like to advocate on your behalf and who will be your beneficiaries. Call or visit Foley Law Offices for more information on estate planning today!