Many folks have joined the “Do it Yourself” (“DIY”) movement. The thinking is why pay someone to do something that can just as easily be done on your own?
For some tasks, like painting your home or adding a deck, with a little education and the right tools, you may be able to do a decent job and save a few bucks.
Even if you mess up, in many cases, you may be able to fix the problem, or, if beyond your skill level bring in an expert to fix the problem. In any event, you will typically be able to quickly spot a mistake so that you can fix it before a bigger problem arises.
For most of uw, however, even car repairs have gone beyond the DIY level. No longer is it sufficient to have a set of Craftsman tools and a Penske timing light. Today’s vehicles, with multiple air bags, anti-lock brakes, complex emission systems and multiple computers, are complex pieces of machinery that require expensive state of the art equipment to properly maintain and repair.
When it comes to estate planning, there is a misconception by some that because it is simply some words on paper that a Will or Trust can be created by anyone with the right form book or web site. However, while it may not be obvious, there is too much to consider and account for, making even the “simplest” plans complicated.
Take the federal tax code. Between the actual written law, and the IRS’ additional interpretations and regulations around the law, there are nearly 17,000 pages of text. That is a lot of information to take into account when planning your estate. Oh yeah, don’t forget that California has its own tax laws which have to be taken into consideration.
Both federal and Californla law have additional provisions relating to property ownership. succession planning, health care planning and powers of attorney.
In addition to the laws, there are numerous federal and state court cases that interpret the laws. All of this means that there are a lot of things to know and consider when developing your estate plan.
If you decide to create a DIY estate plan, you have decided to save a couple dollars in the present, but you most likely have created some big and expensive issues in the future. You cannot plan for that which you do not know. Unfortunately, the defects and problems of DIY plans are not discovered until after death when the errors may be permanent or, at the least, require expensive court procedures to corret.
To truly save yourself, and your family, needless headaches and money, consult with an experienced and qualified estate planning attorney to learn how to develop the best plan for you.