A common mistake one can make in crafting an estate plan is adopting a “Do it Yourself” strategy.
Building an estate plan is not like building a table. You can’t just Google how to do it, walk into your local hardware store, buy some lumber and start sawing away. Tax laws are complicated and as we just discussed, they change all the time.
You need a competent attorney who is not only familiar with the changes in the tax regime but one who has the experience of dealing with hundreds of people in helping them make important life decisions.
The questions I hear from my clients when discussing the very sensitive choices they have to make when preparing their wills more than any other is “what do you recommend?” or “what do most people do in this circumstance?” How these questions could be answered without the experience of having counseled hundreds of clients is beyond me.
You wouldn’t do your own dental work. Don’t DIY your estate plan!
You might then ask, what about template forms available online and online services that will help you prepare them? I will not disparage these services except to say that they will simply not give you the time and attention you need to prepare your plan. They won’t take the time to get to know you and your family. They won’t be analyzing your wealth. They won’t be re-titling your assets. And, perhaps most importantly, they will not be there for you in your time of need when someone passes away and you need help muddling through the process of probating an estate.
The internet is great for shopping for clothing and groceries, but you wouldn’t walk into your local club warehouse store looking for legal advice. Don’t go looking for it on the internet either.
I once saw a lawyer’s coffee mug that gave me a good chuckle. It read “Please don’t mistake your Google search for my law degree.” Truer words were never written. The few thousand dollars you will spend on a qualified attorney to draft your estate plan will no doubt save countless time, much anguish, and thousands of dollars in the end.
We invite you to contact us to learn more about estate planning and the services we offer.