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Disappointment with DIY Trust & Estate Documents

These days, we do everything online. You can learn a language, find a love match, order groceries, even predict your own death if you’re into that sort of thing – the list is endless. The accessibility and utility of the Internet makes it easy to feel empowered, but some people who have turned to the Web for answers about trusts and estates have not had a positive experience. In fact, some who chose to “cheaply” draft trust or estate documents themselves ended up with unintended consequences that cost their estates more money than if they had sought professional legal advice in the beginning.

There’s no doubt that contemplating our own mortality is a depressing prospect. No one relishes the thought of life going on without them, but the truth is that, as difficult as it is to think about, the reality is even harder on the loved ones that are eventually left behind. That situation is made worse when there is no plan in place, no guidance for how to handle the deceased person’s estate. Having an estate plan is vitally important to everyone’s peace of mind.

Of course, estate matters concern sensitive, personal information – and that’s exactly why it’s best to make sure it’s done properly at the outset. For example, if a person wishes to exclude one of their children from inheriting, that is a personal decision that he or she may not wish to share. Attempting a do-it-yourself will or trust can result in the documents being ruled invalid and intestate succession laws kicking in, so that the child inherits equally with siblings, contrary to the decedent’s intent and after it is too late for the decedent to fix it.

Downloading a form is simply no substitute for consulting with an attorney, who will offer counsel beyond the blanks. This is especially true where trusts are concerned. There are many kinds of trusts, all with different rules, and only a skilled attorney can give advice on what is most appropriate in each unique situation. Trust and estate-planning software programs can quickly become outdated due to constantly evolving laws. Jurisdictional issues are also important and can make or break the validity of these documents. States have varying requirements as to proper execution of a will or trust. Something as basic as how many people are required to witness a will or trust can be overlooked by DIY programs and result in an invalid will or trust. Even a typo can completely change the meaning and legality of a will or trust.

Wills and trusts are more than pieces of paper. They stand for highly personal matters and represent family stories. Properly done, they can give great security. Why take a chance with something so important? Some people have been sorely disappointed to start the online process, just to find out that there are more papers to buy and complete than they realized (or were told). Leave the DIYing to trying that faux finish or changing your air filter, not distributing your legacy.

Whatever your situation or hopes for the future, the New Albany, IN, trust and estate planning lawyers at Church, Langdon, Lopp, Banet Law can help. We understand the issues and can guide you through the process. We will work closely with you and help you make the best decisions possible. We have worked with many families, and we look forward to working with yours. For skilled and knowledgeable representation, contact us by calling 812-725-8224 or filling out our online form. Based in New Albany, Indiana, we proudly serve communities throughout Kentuckiana; Floyd County, IN; Clark County, IN; and Jefferson County, KY.

Attorney Steve Langdon

Attorney Steve LangdonLicensed to practice in both Indiana and Kentucky, Steve Langdon is an experienced elder law and trial attorney. In addition to his litigation and trial work, Steve’s practice includes wills, trusts, probate, Medicaid planning, guardianship, powers of attorney, and advanced directive planning, including living wills and health care surrogate designations. [ Attorney Bio ]

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