On its face, estate planning might seem relatively simple. You just write up a document that specifies where your assets are going to go when you pass away, right? Sort of. But the truth of the matter is that estate planning is much more complicated than that, especially if you want to maximize the benefits of the process.
Despite that, a lot of San Jose-area residents turn to self-help guides and do-it-yourself resources that they find online to create their own estate planning documents. Although it seems like taking this route might save you some money, the fact is that creating an estate plan on your own can be dangerous, and it may even end up costing you more time, money, and headache than seeking out legal assistance from the get-go.
Why you might want an attorney to help you with your estate plan
An attorney who is experienced in estate planning can help you navigate this process in a lot of different ways. Here are some of the biggest benefits of seeking assistance from a legal advocate:
- Knowledge of the law: An attorney is going to know the law as it applies to estate planning, which means that you can rest assured that your estate planning documents are going to be legally valid.
- Knowledge of your options: The estate-planning process is wholly customizable to suit your needs. This ensures that you’re getting as much as you can out of the process, thereby protecting your assets, your interests and your loved ones as fully as possible. If you try to engage in estate planning on your own, you might miss out on some of these options, which could leave your loved ones with less than you hoped and less than they deserve.
- Well-drafted documents: The estate planning documents that are drafted have to be legally sound. If they’re not, your family could end up fighting over your estate. Not only is this costly to your estate, thereby diminishing what your loved ones will be able to inherit but it can also severely damage familial relationships, which you probably want to avoid as much as possible.
- Adequately addressing life changes: Although it might seem like a relief to create an initial estate plan, you really need to revisit that plan periodically to ensure that it’s still meeting your wishes. If you don’t, your assets could end up falling into the wrong hands or your loved ones, like a newborn grandchild, may miss out on inheriting what you otherwise would’ve wanted them to inherit.
- Preparing for incapacitation: Estate planning is about much more than just assets. It’s also about protecting your healthcare and financial decisions. As such, you need to be prepared for the possibility that you some day may be unable to make those decisions on your own. If that day comes, you want to have a plan in place that ensures that your interests are protected. An attorney can help you do that.
Don’t leave your estate planning to chance
There’s a lot at risk when you engage in estate planning. And making a mistake or cutting corners can lead to an outcome that you never intended. That’s why it’s imperative that you ensure that your estate plan is created in a legally valid, holistic fashion. If you’d like to learn more about what that would entail, we encourage you to reach out to a legal professional who is adept in this area of the law.