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DIY estate planning, is it worth it?

The do-it-yourself lifestyle is alive and well here in New Jersey. An increasing number of people are interested in learning how to remodel homes, plant gardens or learn a variety of other valuable skills that will benefit themselves, their families and their pocketbooks. While taking time to do a project by oneself can certainly grant a sense of accomplishment and save money in the long-run, there are some things where seeking professional assistance would be advisable. Estate planning is one such area.

While estate planning can be done without the help of an attorney, it is important for those considering this option to understand the risks involved. As with most DIY projects, yes, a DIY estate plan will likely cost less to create; however, this could cost beneficiaries more in the long-run. A do-it-yourself estate plan may not offer protection from taxes or other expenses and could be easily contested in court. Even though these documents can make sure final wishes have been made known, they will likely not provide the same level of security compared to estate planning documents drawn up by an experienced attorney.

There are a number of factors that can complicate an estate plan. From having a considerable amount of assets, children, loved one's with special needs or even owning a business. An estate plan that involves these and other factors may not be as straightforward as you'd think. Unfortunately, many DIY estate planning documents are not created to adequately cover these factors.

Every person's estate planning needs are different and deserve more than a "one size fits all" type of document. Creating an estate plan doesn't have to be difficult, but those with any complicating factors may require assistance to ensure sufficient provisions are made to adequately cover and protect not only the estate but beneficiaries as well. An experienced estate planning attorney in New Jersey can help by reviewing every aspect of a person's current situation and creating a plan with appropriate solutions for any complicating factors.

Source: recordonline.com, "Medigovich: Beware the pitfalls of do-it-yourself estate planning", Laura Medigovich, Oct. 24, 2014

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