Everyone’s looking to save a few bucks these days—and for good reason. The cost of living is higher than ever, so anywhere there is wiggle room to cut back on expenses can make a big difference in a family’s budget. Of course, there are different ways to save, and there are some areas where cutting costs just isn’t worth it. Cancelling an extra streaming service? Cooking at home more often? These are perfectly reasonable ways to save money. However, when it comes to drafting your estate plan, the cost-savings of DIY-ing it does not outweigh the benefits of hiring an experienced estate planning attorney—and we’re sure your family and loved ones will agree. A DIY estate plan might sound like a tempting option, but—trust us—you’ll only end up putting your family and legacy at risk.

What Constitutes an Estate Plan?

When many people hear the words “estate plan,” they immediately think of a will or a trust. And while these documents are certainly among the most important elements of an estate plan, they are far from the only documents you’ll need. A thoroughly drafted plan will contain a variety of different documents, including:

        • Durable and financial power of attorney
        • Healthcare proxy
        • Advance directive for healthcare
        • Beneficiary designation forms to ensure the designations work with the estate plan
        • Guardianship designations for any children under 18

These documents are essential—but, drafting them without the help of an experienced lawyer could leave your health, your assets, and your legacy vulnerable to bigger consequences down the line.

DIY Estate Plan: Risks for Wills

Even if an estate plan is as simple as drafting a will, it would still be a bad idea to go it alone. While a will may seem like a relatively simple document—and so many websites offer DIY toolkits—the truth is that wills can be fairly complex. Wills require the court process of probate in order for the executor to get the authority to carry out the will. Each state has its own requirements for what constitutes a valid will. If not drafted properly, your family will have more steps to go through with court to get the authority to execute your will. This can be stressful and expensive. In addition, wills are not “set it and forget it” documents—they often need to be updated. For example, you would want to update your will anytime you undergo a major life event—marriage, divorce, having children or grandchildren, etc.—or if your relationship with a beneficiary changes. With all of these moving pieces, the more surefire way to protect you and your loved ones is by working with an experienced professional.

DIY Estate Plan Risks for Trusts

When it comes to setting up a trust, please don’t take matters into your own hands. In many ways, trusts are even more complex than wills. There are many types of trusts, and if you don’t choose the right kind‚ or execute and fund them correctly, you run the risk of invalidation, unintended (and tragic) consequences, non-compliance with state law, loss of control, or increased costs.

Contact the Experienced Lawyers at the Estate Planning Law Group of Georgia

If you have any questions about setting up your estate plan, the experts at the Estate Planning Law Group of Georgia are standing by to help. Our experienced lawyers will ensure that your plan is drafted flawlessly, and that you and your family are well-protected from the many uncertainties of the future. Call us today at (770) 822-2723 or fill out the brief form below to get started.

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