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Do-It-Yourself Estate Planning

Are you really busy? So busy that you are thinking of printing your will off the internet? Please don’t! You should avoid risky do-it-yourself documents. There are potential dangers of online documents which could be detrimental to you and your family. It may be inexpensive at first but could cost your estate thousands of dollars without a properly executed estate plan. You should avoid these common mistakes:

Improper Execution. Each state has its own procedures and policies in place for a document to be considered valid. Connecticut, for example, requires two disinterested witnesses who are not only required to sign when a will is being executed but also required to sign in the presence of each other. 

Outdated Information. With today’s technology, you can download a will with a simple click of a mouse. How do you know the form is correct? Does it contain all the information you need? Is the information updated? Estate planning laws change on a regular basis and you may be stuck with an inadequate document.

Incomplete Distribution. An online form may not provide for certain family members, such as minor children, children with special needs, blended families, or children with financial difficulties. You may want to donate to charity or disinherit a family member. A do-it-yourself form may not address your joint and business assets and, more importantly, whether or not you have a taxable estate.

Other Documents. While a last will and testament distributes your assets after your death, it is important to have other documents in place to help you during your lifetime. A power of attorney gives your agent the authority to act on your behalf with respect to tax and financial matters in the event you become disabled, a living will is your statement for end-of-life decisions, and health care instructions appoint agents to speak with medical professionals about your care. 

Additionally, during the probate process, heirs or creditors may contest the will or make claims against the estate and it is pertinent to have a properly drafted document done by an attorney who specializes in estate planning and who can give you proper legal advice. 

We recommend that you …

  1. Prepare for personal health and financial hardships in your families;
  2. Protect your assets;
  3. Maintain your wealth;
  4. Pass assets to future generations.

Sweeney Law Firm can help you make informed decisions about life and death for yourself and the people you love. Every estate plan is different and should meet your specific needs and wishes. We suggest reviewing your plan every 3 years in the event of any changes during your life, such as divorce, marriage, disability, or changes in tax laws.