We would like to thank our neighbors in Auburn, CA for visiting our website. If you are looking for a licensed estate planning attorney in the Sacramento area, you have found a reliable local resource. Auburn, known for its historical role in the California Gold Rush, is the county seat in Placer County and a registered historical landmark. A city with a population of more than 13,000, Auburn is considered part of Greater Sacramento and the site of the Auburn State Recreation Area.
Great activities at the Auburn State Recreation Area
The Auburn State Recreation Area is known to offer more endurance-type sporting events than any other park in the world. For that reason, Auburn is considered by many as the internationally acclaimed title of Endurance Capital of the World. For example, there you can witness or participate in the Western States Endurance Run; the Tevis Cup Equestrian Ride; Way Too Cool 50 Kilometer Endurance Run; Auburn International Half-Ironman Triathlon; and many more.
Serving Our Neighbors in Auburn, CA
Here at Northern California Center for Estate Planning and Elder Law, we take our commitment to our neighbors in Auburn to heart. So, we want to offer you a bit of advice, beware of Do-It-Yourself (DIY) wills and other estate planning products that you can find online, on CDs or in books. The reality is, DIY wills can ultimately cause you more problems than you could imagine. Despite the low cost and simplicity of DIY wills and other online legal forms, there is still a great risk that your document will not operate the way you expect when the time comes. In fact, it may not even be valid.
What a will can do and why it is an important document
A Last Will and Testament is basically a written legal document describing to the people who survive you precisely how you want your estate to be distributed upon your death. Wills are useful estate planning tools because they can be modified or revoked at any time before your death or incapacity. There many important provisions that you should consider including in your will. However, not all DIY wills can provide the detailed provisions you may need to meet your estate planning goals.
Why substituting DIY wills for professional estate planning is risky
Before you make the decision to substitute professional legal services with online products such as DIY wills, you should at least be familiar with the inherent risks of doing so. The primary risk is the likelihood of mistakes. Most of the mistakes that occur with DIY wills pertain to how the document is executed. Most people do not properly witness the document which will usually make it invalid. In most states a valid will requires at least two independent witnesses signing at the same time, some require three. Another common mistake is not using proper witnesses. In many states, at least one witness must not be a beneficiary, others require two independent witnesses. Another common mistake is to get a Will notarized, which is often improper. Other common mistakes include misspelled names and vague notations that require interpretation by a court.
Consider consulting an experienced estate planning attorney
While a do-it-yourself will may seem very like an easy and cheap alternative to hiring an estate planning attorney to draft your will, the consequences of executing an invalid estate planning document can be very serious. Not to mention the fact that you may not know anything is wrong until it is too late. Not only do you risk leaving your family confused and in financial and emotional chaos, but your estate could be greatly reduced due to unnecessary legal fees or estate taxes.
Estate planning is not one size fits all
The risk of errors in executing DIY wills is not the only reason you should be careful using these products. Wills, as well as nearly all other estate planning tools, are meant to be customized. Wills are not one size fits all and no two clients have the same type of estate or family dynamic. Therefore, it is important to work with an estate planning attorney who has the knowledge and experience to help you create the correct plan for you. For many clients whose estates exceed a very modest size, a plan based upon a trust, not a will, will be a much wiser choice. If you fail to create the appropriate plan, your estate plan may not be valid or may not work the way you intended.
If you have questions regarding DIY wills, probate, or any other estate planning matters, please contact us at the Northern California Center for Estate Planning and Elder Law for a consultation. You can contact us either online or by calling us at (916) 437-3500. We are here to help!