You may think you have saved a significant amount of money creating your own estate planning documents online, but in reality you most likely have cost your estate thousands on top of what you would have spent hiring an estate planning attorney. Before you head the DIY estate planning route, consider these common errors found in DIY estate plans.
DIY Wills and Trusts keep it very simple. They are unable to address complex issues such as guardianship, property transfers and estate taxes. Since these situations apply to most individuals, their DIY estate plans are insufficient.
The Court Goes on What is Written
The courts always go with what is written in the Will and Trust. Therefore, if you misword or leave something out, the court will have to interpret what they think you meant. This leaves your estate open to numerous interpretations if the right wording is omitted during estate plan creation.
If you have stated in your Will that you leave all of your “property” to your children and spouse, what are the courts supposed to assume constitute your “property”? Does this mean all property you own? Property that is in your name only (which means joint-owned property doesn’t count)?
The most common error found in DIY Wills and Trusts are ambiguous terms. These terms leave the courts to decide what it was that you meant and often what they decide is the polar opposite of what you intended.
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