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Phone: 201-345-3018

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Is it possible to write your own simple estate plan?

New Jersey residents work hard for their money, and many of us look for ways to save a dollar or two whenever possible. The Internet has been invaluable for penny-pinchers, and information is now readily available for a wide range of tasks. Many people are more likely to try their hand at changing their own oil, addressing a leaking faucet or making their own bread, all because there are informational videos and websites that can outline the proper steps. When it comes to creating a simple estate plan, many do-it-yourselfers wonder if this is another area in which they can cut costs.

The simple answer is yes. It is certainly possible to create a simple estate plan on one's own. Whether or not that approach is advisable, however, is another question entirely. The reason that estate planning attorneys exist is due to the fact that the laws governing inheritance are incredibly complex. Having a well-defined skill set is essential to reaching a favorable estate planning outcome.

Take, for example, the basic will. If a will is not properly drafted, the final product will not be in line with the industry norm, which can leave a will open to challenge from disgruntled family members. If the matter goes to court, the court will review the document to look for discrepancies or omissions. If not properly worded, it is likely that the state's inheritance rules will apply. This can lead to a distribution of assets that is not in line with one's wishes.

The urge to save money is understandable, but New Jersey residents who are looking to reduce their expenses may want to consider if estate planning is an area in which a DIY approach makes sense. Drafting your own simple estate plan is certainly possible, but there is a real risk of making errors that can cost a great deal to those who are left behind. If costs are a concern, it may be helpful to meet with an attorney to go over your estate planning needs. In many cases, the expense is not as significant as you may believe.

Source: americanclarion.com, "Can I Write My Own Estate Plan?", David John Marotta and Megan Russell, Nov. 10, 2015

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