Absolutely not, right? But what about preparing your own estate plan? It’s just a few documents, and since you’ve been reading KEYTLaw’s ArizonaWills website, you feel comfortable with basic estate planning concepts. So why not prepare your own estate plan? Here’s our top five reasons why preparing your own estate plan is not a good idea:
5. You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know. Unfortunately, what you don’t know could spell disaster with DIY estate planning. Did you know that in Arizona your Will is where you need to appoint a guardian for your minor children? Did you know that in addition to appointing a guardian, you can also appoint a conservator to manage minor children’s assets in your Will? Do you know the requirements for a valid Arizona Will? Do you know what property you can dispose of in your Will and what property cannot be included in your Will? Since you’ve been reading KEYTLaw’s Arizona Wills website, hopefully you can answer yes to all of these questions. However, these questions show that estate planning law is full of intricacies and caveats that you can’t plan for if you don’t know about them.
4. DIY Estate Plans May Not Be Legally Valid. Many DIY estate planning kits are advertised as “good in all 50 states” even though each state has its own rules for estate planning. In Arizona, a Will must be witnessed by two witnesses to be valid. In Pennsylvania, three witnesses are required. Some states have rules on who can and cannot be a witness. If a person who is supposed to inherit under the Will signs as a witness, some states will invalidate the will while others may invalidate the gift to the interested witness. If you can’t even be sure that your DIY Will is valid, what’s the point of wasting money on a DIY kit?
3. Do You Know How DIY Documents Will Actually Operate? You might be surprised about how something that seems minute can actually change how your estate plan works. A Financial Power of Attorney allows you to appoint someone to handle your financial affairs if and when you become incapacitated. However, just the simple matter of signing in the wrong place could give someone else total power over your finances immediately – not just when you become incapacitated. Or, maybe you want the proceeds from your life insurance policy to go to your children and said so in your Will. Unfortunately, you listed your former spouse as the beneficiary when you purchased the policy. Think your life insurance proceeds are going to pass to your kids? Think again – while your ex-spouse enjoys the money!
2. DIY Estate Plans Create Problems When Faced With Unforseen Circumstances. Most people we talk to don’t plan to get divorced. Some don’t plan on having additional children. However, it’s what you’re not planning for that can have a significant impact on your estate plan. Getting divorced can have major consequences on your estate plan. Now that you’re divorced, are you sure you want your former spouse to get everything? Even more dangerous, one popular online DIY estate planning kit contains a Will with language specifically disinheriting future children. This might not be a problem if you don’t have any other children, but if you do, they will inherit nothing with that DIY Will.
1. You’ve Only Got One Chance To Get It Right. By the time your estate planning documents are needed, the chance to create or fix them has past. That’s why it is so important to have an estate plan now that you know is done right.
When you really consider the consequences of estate planning, you realize that DIY estate planning is about as intelligent as DIY surgery. Do you really want to trust your family’s future and life savings to a fill-in-the-blank form that says it is “not a substitute for the advice of an attorney”? Like the old saying goes, ‘you get what you pay for’.
You Want Your Family’s Future In The Best Hands
If you want your family’s future and life savings in the best possible hands, call us to get started on your estate plan. We don’t charge for quick answers to Arizona estate planning questions. Or, you can get started today by filling out the appropriate online Estate Plan Preparation Agreement.