While some people think that creating an estate plan on your own is a simple task, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, there is a lot of legal knowledge, personalization, and attention to detail that goes into an estate plan. Even if you are young and think you have negligible assets, you should consult a professional. There are simply too many things that can be left out or misunderstood, and sometimes things just go wrong. Even a small mistake in an estate plan can lead to big problems, even invalidating your entire plan.
There are several important issues that are often overlooked by those preparing an estate plan on their own:
- Although a will does not have to be notarized in some states, most states do require you to sign your will in the presence of witnesses. Failing to do this can result in your estate plan being invalidated.
- It is important that you choose a backup guardian for your minor children in case your first choice is unwilling or unable to care for them. Failing to do so can cause great problems for your family after your death.
- Although there is no estate tax in 2010, many heirs will actually end up paying more because of capital gains taxes.
- Upon your death, your will becomes a public document, and this could leave your heirs open to criticism, claims, and contest suits by predators or unhappy relatives.
Any of these issues could present problems for those completing estate plans on their own. An estate planning attorney, however, could easily anticipate and address these issues. You should contact an estate planning attorney to ensure that your estate plan is current and complies with all state and federal regulations.