March 20th, 2022
These days, it seems like there are DIY instructions for everything. Want to change your own oil? Install a light fixture? Build a dining room table? With a few keystrokes, you can have instructions and how-to videos for almost anything at your fingertips. The same is true for DIY estate planning services.
With so many people staying at home and trying to save a little money, the use of online estate planning software is at an all-time high. But this begs the question: just because you can DIY your estate plan, should you?
Sure, the software will walk you through the basic steps, ask you some questions, and spit out a trust, will, or advanced directives. But before you invest your time and hard-earned money on these DIY estate planning solutions, it is crucial that you understand what you are giving up by trying to save a few dollars.
DIY Estate Planning Has Its Risks
When you try to DIY your estate plan, you are substituting professional advice for that of a computer. As the old saying goes, “Garbage in, garbage out.” When it comes to online estate planning, this means that if the computer doesn’t ask the right questions, the product won’t work when you need it. Even relatively sophisticated and well-educated people should think twice before venturing beyond their area of expertise.
Lawyers have engaged in years of study to learn how to properly prepare estate planning documents and understand why specific provisions must be included. We know the right questions to ask, understand the ramifications of the decisions you make, and can provide advice on the best way to approach a particular estate planning situation.
But perhaps the greatest pitfall of DIY estate planning is that you will be lulled into a false sense of security. So ask yourself: is it really worth the risk when you will be unable to change your estate plan when you need it most?
Will Your Estate Plan Work When You Need It?
To be valid, your estate planning documents must meet certain stringent legal requirements. Once these requirements are satisfied, your will provides instructions for how your assets will be distributed when you are gone.
But if you fail to adhere to these specific requirements, your will or trust can be declared invalid and your estate will proceed as if you had no will or trust at all and will likely face probate. And if you do choose to prepare your own will, bear in mind that the critical test of your efforts will come after your death, when no one will be able to explain your true intentions.
Similarly, your other estate planning documents provide guidance and authority for the people you designate to take certain actions on your behalf when you are unable to take them yourself. Once again, if these documents were not properly prepared and executed, they will be considered invalid. And let’s face it: these are documents that need to work right the first time.
The Role of an Estate Planning Attorney
An estate planning attorney does so much more than simply generate documents. We offer personalized advice that can account for your unique situation, prepare a specific plan that will meet your needs, and update that plan to address the inevitable changes that will occur as your life unfolds.
An experienced estate planning attorney will learn about your goals and prepare the legal documents that make your wishes a reality in your final days. We can help you specify the type of medical care you do or do not wish to receive. We can appoint a legal guardian to care for your minor children. We can draft a durable power of attorney that allows the person you designate to take legal and financial action on your behalf. And we can prepare a will that specifies how your assets are to be divided when you are gone, avoid the cost of probate, and avoid a costly and contentious legal battle between your children and other heirs and beneficiaries.
The Vander Laan Law Firm: Peace of Mind Through Proper Estate Planning
Everyone can benefit from a properly prepared estate plan. They are not just for the wealthy. Whether you are retired and planning how you want to pass on a financial legacy to future generations, or you have a young family and need to protect and care for young children, the Vander Laan Law Firm will make your wishes known and help your family avoid a costly and contentious probate process.
At the Vander Laan Law Firm, Nevada estate planning attorney Natalia Vander Laan works closely with her clients to understand their needs and help them achieve peace of mind.
Ms. Vander Laan personally meets with her clients to understand their estate planning needs and goals. During these meetings, she strives to explain complex legal concepts in plain language and ensures that her clients understand the next steps in the estate planning process.
A Nevada estate plan typically includes, but is not limited to, a:
- Last will and testament or a trust
- Durable power of attorney for financial matters
- Healthcare power of attorney
- Living will and other advance directives.
Depending on your circumstances and estate planning goals, your estate plan may also include a trust.
Investing in an estate plan does not need to be expensive and can actually save you money in the long run. By having an attorney prepare your estate plan, you can avoid future legal problems and gain peace of mind knowing that your estate plan was prepared by a professional.
With offices in Minden and Carson City, Nevada, the Vander Laan Law Firm provides comprehensive services to meet all of your estate planning needs.
Learn more about Natalia Vander Laan and her unique approach to estate planning, then contact us today to schedule a free and confidential consultation to discuss your situation and how the Vander Laan Law Firm can help.
Categories: Estate Planning