Over the past few years, DIY estate plans have gained in popularity. Just fill in the blanks and out pops a will, a trust, or even powers of attorney. Have you carefully considered whether these documents:
- Conform to state law;
- Could contain inaccurate, incomplete or contradictory information; or
- Account for changing life circumstances such as new children/grandchildren, marriages, or divorce.
I was asked to look over a DIY will. Upon review, I asked this new client if he ever lived in Utah? No. Did he plan to move to Utah? No. Did he own property in Utah? No. Why all the questions about Utah, he asked. Because he selected Utah instead of Tennessee as the controlling law for his will. I am not so certain that his family would have enjoyed traveling to Utah to probate his estate after he passed.
The list of horror stories associated with DIY estate plans would frighten ghouls and ghosts at Halloween. A faulty DIY estate plan could very well result in a judge in Probate Court, and not you or your family, deciding who inherits what assets. You may find that DIY healthcare directives and financial powers of attorney may not be accepted at precisely the time you need them to operate without challenge. Your family and loved ones will be left wondering who will be in charge of making critical healthcare and financial decisions for you. Instead of caring for you and following your instructions, they might be forced to request a judge to appoint someone to make decisions for you – perhaps even a total stranger to you and your family.
If you have a DIY will, trust or other estate plan documents, invest in a thorough review by an estate plan professional. Avoid uncertainty. Avoid anxiety. Avoid will contests. Contact Michael Geiger at Geiger Law for assistance with all your estate planning needs.