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The Dangers of DIY Estate Planning

On behalf of Randall & Stump, PLLC in Estate Planning on Friday, September 16, 2022

Family arguing in living room

Proper estate planning does more than create a plan to manage and allocate your assets after you pass away. It sets up a clear path that honors your wishes and eliminates confusion after you are gone.

While some people may take it upon themselves to create their plan on their own, there are many important reasons why you should let an experienced Charlotte Estate Planning attorney handle it.

You may overlook important Estate Plan Information

Since estate plans are legally binding documents, using specific language and properly executing each document is crucial, so your requests can be adequately enforced.

For example, you will want to ensure that you designate an executor in your will to administer your estate through probate. It is important to designate someone who is trustworthy and willing to accept the role because it will be their responsibility to carry out the instructions in your estate plan in accordance with state Probate laws. You can choose your lawyer or a family member, though you are generally advised to select a legal professional.

Each State Has Its Own Laws for Estate Planning

Not having validly executed documents could render them useless in the court of law. For example, an improperly executed will would be deemed invalid, and you might as well have died without one.

The same goes for other documents like a healthcare power of attorney. If your POA is invalid, your agent won’t have any power to make critical medical decisions on your behalf.

Furthermore, an improperly executed durable power of attorney could put your financial matters at risk as well. Without a properly drafted durable POA, your agent won’t be able to make financial decisions in your best interest. In North Carolina, an improperly executed estate must go through the long and tedious process of probate court. 

Your Estate Plan Includes More Than Just a Will

Many consider an estate plan to consist of solely a last will and testament. However, there are many other vital documents in an estate plan. As mentioned in the previous section, a healthcare power of attorney form gives a trusted agent the power to make critical medical decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated. Another document used in tandem with your healthcare POA is a Living Will.

This document provides detailed instructions for the care you’d like to receive should you succumb to sudden illness. These instructions could include whether you’d like to continue receiving life support in dire circumstances. Other documents like a durable power of attorney allows you to select someone to handle your finances and ensure they’re secured.

As you can see, a will is just the tip of the iceberg. Having an experienced Charlotte Estate Planning attorney could help you understand the importance of these documents to ensure your future is in good hands.

You May Not Know Your Estate Planning Needs

An estate plan is a complex, holistic legal compilation of documents that cover end of life decisions, caretaking decisions should you become incapacitated, as well as the disbursement of assets you own.

Over time, life events like births, deaths, or divorces may require changes. If you try to make these edits yourself, there is a potential for errors that could cause significant issues after you pass. It can leave your assets and money vulnerable to outside parties with no real ties to you.

You May Need an Attorney to Help Modify Your Plan

While a “do-it-yourself” approach to creating or modifying your plan might seem simple and efficient, it may land you in a challenging position.

An experienced attorney who understands North Carolina law will help guide you in making informed decisions regarding your or your children’s future. Call Randall & Stump, PLLC today at 980-237-4579 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.