When you have the time, you may wonder: Can I do estate planning myself? The truth is that you don’t have to be an attorney to create an estate plan. While the process may seem complicated, it is not. If you’re not an attorney, you may have to hire someone to prepare your will. Even if you have access to a software that helps you create estate plans, you should still consult a lawyer for a professional opinion. Even simple mistakes can have unintended consequences.
You will probably need to create a will, a living trust, or powers of attorney. However, most estate planning documents are DIY-friendly. For example, Nolo’s WillMaker & Trust is a great tool for creating these documents. In many cases, you won’t need to create all of these documents, but they’ll help you get your affairs in order. It can take some time to get everything organized.
Another thing to remember is that every state has different laws and formalities for estate planning documents. It’s crucial to follow those rules if you want your documents to be valid in court. Also, you should be sure to provide reliable instructions for any documents you create yourself. Otherwise, you’ll be making a mistake. In some states, you can easily write a will on your own. But, if you have no idea what you’re doing, you should seek the advice of a lawyer.
Before you attempt to create an estate plan, you should review your state’s laws. Estate laws may change at any time. In the case of a community property state, for example, there are special rules regarding the distribution of property after a death. Another reason is that omitted words can have unexpected effects. You should also make sure to choose a will that is specific to your state. So, you should make sure that you have a plan in place before you pass away.
You might think that the only time you should engage in estate planning is when you are in the midst of a life transition. However, today’s technology has made it easier to find assets on the Internet and on your computer. In fact, many people now go “paperless” and use cloud storage services to store their electronic documents. Keeping these files safe will require access to emails and passwords. Besides, you might not want the people to access things you’ve created in your virtual life to know about your wishes. Different services have different policies and practices regarding after-death information. If you’re not sure which of these applies to you, try Wikipedia.
If you are young and healthy and think you have everything covered, it’s best to contact a professional to get an opinion. Remember that your estate planning plan will continue to grow as you age. If you have children, consider hiring a professional. And don’t forget to update your will as life changes. You might want to include the beneficiaries of your retirement accounts or your life insurance policy. A professional will know what your family needs.
A good estate plan includes instructions for how your assets will be divided after your death. For instance, you may want to specify who should take care of your minor children. An estate plan is a much larger document that goes beyond your will. It deals with how you want your legacy to be carried out and may save your heirs from paying excessive taxes and court costs. It is best to consult a lawyer and tax professional for advice.
While you can do some estate planning yourself, you may be better off hiring a professional to create your will. Trusts are far more efficient than wills. These legal instruments can avoid costly probate, time-consuming court proceedings, and public disclosure. You can even name the beneficiaries of retirement accounts, bank accounts, and stocks. Most financial companies will also pass your assets outside probate. A trust is an ideal way to avoid these hassles.
One thing that you should do to create an estate plan is to appoint an attorney-in-fact. This person will make decisions and take actions on your behalf. These documents can be effective immediately, or they can only be effective upon your incapacitation. You may also wish to set up a springing power of attorney. If you want to make sure your executor is capable of performing the tasks that an attorney is responsible for, you should create an estate plan that specifies who will manage these assets.