Tax law is one of the most complicated legal fields in the discipline. It really should be left to the professionals, especially when it involves significant amounts of your money. That’s why it’s very important to take the time and spend the money to receive experienced and skillful legal advice before you attempt to do estate and tax planning on your own.
Here are just some of the major issues that people experience when they try to do this type of thing on their own.
Those with simple estates don’t need a great deal of estate planning, but they still need some. This may include a will, advance medical directives and a power of attorney. People try to create these documents on their own, searching online for a free template or a paid program. Many people who elect to go online to save money, wind up spending more than they anticipated, or they end up with a defective estate plan that only creates more issues for their family, once they’ve passed away. The website's Last Will and Testament might work out just perfectly for some, but others risk much more than they save.
A common issue is trying to determine if a simple estate plan will be enough for a person’s specific situation. Your situation can be complicated if your spouse has already passed, if you have children, if you own real estate or if you’ve been divorced and remarried. If any of these apply, the best bet is to sit down with an experienced estate planning attorney. The free web solution just won’t cut it.
You may be in need of a trust. That’s a sophisticated task that definitely requires legal expertise because a simple mistake can make the trust null and void. A qualified local estate planning attorney will understand the details of the law and your situation. He or she will guide you into making the right choices for you and your loved ones. If your do-it-yourself estate plan has an error or flaw, the legacy you wanted to leave to your family may be challenged in court.
If you do have an estate worth millions of dollars, with your do-it-yourself estate plan, you risk losing a lot of money because of unnecessary taxation or simple mistakes. An established estate planning lawyer who practices in this area of law will know the tax laws and will suggest strategies that will save as much as possible. How much risk do you want to take?
Reference: Axcess News (August 2017) “The Very Real Dangers of Doing Your Own Estate Planning”