While estate planning is an essential matter, just 40 percent of adults in New York and across the country have a will, according to the American Association of Retired Person. However, like taxes, if a will is not properly prepared, the will’s named beneficiaries may face complications regarding the deceased individual’s estate. To avoid some of these pitfalls, here is some advice about good estate planning.
Do-it-yourself estate-planning forms could cause troubles
Estate planning typically involves all or some of these legal documents: a will, a living trust, an advance health care directive and a power of attorney. While these fill-in-the-blank forms are available through software or on the internet for those who want to save money and do the work themselves, mistakes can easily be made. Just as everyone’s estate is not the same, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to estate planning.
Some of the mistakes involving online estate-planning forms can arise from websites and estate planning services that incorrectly label the documents or that omit a vital document, which could seriously mislead users. Moreover, these sites may not offer advice, unless users are willing to pay for it, and the advice offered is not individualized.
How legal guidance for estate planning can give peace of mind
Estate planning can involve complex legal issues when it comes to valuable assets, real estate, and probate regulations, which vary from state to state and are constantly evolving. Many people would like to have the assurance that they are doing their estate planning according to the law, so that their assets and their heirs will be protected. However, without legal guidance, online forms and software cannot give this assurance.
Whenever individuals die and leaves behind wills that were not prepared according to the state’s law, the decedent’s family members and anyone else named as heirs may be left with a complicated legal quagmire, as they try to receive what they are legally due. The matter could end up in a formal probate proceeding, which is time-consuming and expensive. Those wishing to avoid any costly estate-planning mistakes might consider seeking the advice of an experienced attorney.