Don’t ‘Do It Yourself’

Many people like to do things for themselves. They grow their own vegetables. Raise their own chickens. Fix their own plumbing problems.

But one area where doing it yourself may not be such a smart idea is estate planning, according to a story in the Times Herald-Record newspaper in New York’s Hudson Valley.

You can find do it yourself tools for estate planning all over the internet. They are inexpensive and easy to use. You can create wills and trusts at a relatively low cost.

But the article says not to forget one thing: you get what you pay for.

According to one estate planning attorney quoted in the story, such documents are easy to contest in court.

If your circumstances include children from a previous marriage, children with special needs, a business or any substantial assets, you really need the expertise of an estate planning attorney, the story warns.

Do it yourself sites provide documents, but not legal advice.

In addition, laws change all the time. Just this year, New York changed its estate tax exemption, for example.

Bottom line: Weigh the risks and rewards of doing it yourself. If in doubt, seek the advice of an estate planning attorney.

If you have questions about estate planning, feel free to contact us for a consultation at (626) 696-3145.

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