Estate Planning: Before You Do It Yourself
Many people are tempted by do-it-yourself estate planning tools as a way to save time and money. But, rarely does an online form fulfill its intended purpose. Unfortunately, many people find this out the hard way.
Here are some reasons why it may not be in your best interests to prepare your own will, trust, power of attorney, health care directive, living will or other estate planning document:
1. The law is ever-changing — You run the risk of having an outdated estate plan, or one that is based on outdated laws. If this happens, your will may not be valid.
2. Unintended consequences — Without an attorney reviewing your estate planning documents, you may not get what you think you're getting. Including one piece of inaccurate information could undo the whole document.
3. Problems in probate — Very rarely have we seen a do-it-yourself will, or a will from the Internet successfully probated. What may seem like a money-saving option now may end up costing you in the long run.
We invite you to come in for a consultation where we can discuss your estate planning options. Our services go beyond those of most estate planning lawyers. Our business background allows us to analyze clients' financial situations in a way that most lawyers can't. This gives clients value-added service in customizing an estate plan that keeps in mind their individual financial goals.
Can I Administer an Estate Without an Attorney?
While it is possible to administer an estate without attorney representation, we do not advise it. Estate administration — also called probate — is a complex legal process that requires an estate administrator to settle the matters of the deceased. There are deadlines and legal requirements to meet in order for the process to be valid. If something goes wrong, the estate administrator could be held personally responsible.
To find out how Cunningham & Chernicoff can help you with estate administration, contact our law firm in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. We can also explain what estate planning documents may be appropriate for you and your family.