Estate Planning: To DIY or NOT to DIY?

If you’re still unsure as to whether you should call a lawyer to help you out with your estate planning or just go the DIY route, consider these first. DIY estate planning isn’t for people whose estates exceed $5,340,000 because this is where federal taxes come in. Likewise, DIY estate planning isn’t recommended for individuals who are not willing to do extensive research to make certain that they do everything right.

Estate Planning Basics

First off, do you know what estate planning is? Essentially, it’s all about the perfect coordination of various documents such as trusts and wills. But not all estates will require each kind of document, save for a will, which is foundational. On the other hand, some estates won’t need trusts.

Wills are legal directives that explicitly state what you wish to do with your estate upon your passing. There are tons of websites and apps that you could use to help you create a valid will, and a DIY will could be cost-effective for some individuals who just want to leave their estate to one or two beneficiaries with little to no fuss.  Do take note however that you might be overwhelmed if you have a significantly sizeable estate that you wish to leave to several people. This applies in particular if you’re leaving behind minor children, parents, or other dependents that you want to continue providing for even after you die.

Trusts are legal documents that leave assets to specific beneficiaries. They’re mainly different from wills in that you could attach certain conditions to the inheritance, like distributing the assets only after the beneficiaries reaches a particular age, says a top estate planning lawyer in Utah. Trusts could likewise be irrevocable, meaning that you can change the specifics of the trust, or revocable, meaning that you can’t. You could create a trust on your own, but it’s discouraged because of the many potential issues that could crop up.

What You Could DIY

You could create some estate planning documents, such as an advanced health care directive, without help from a CPA or lawyer. This is a document that lets healthcare professionals know what you want to be done to you in case you’re incapable of telling them yourself. Aside from an advanced health care directive, you could likewise make a power of attorney to grant a family member or trusted friend legal authority to make financial and medical decisions for you. But for everything else, it’s best to consult a professional to help you with your estate planning.