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Estate Plans – Do It Yourself or Hire an Estate Planning Attorney?

It is not unusual for an estate planning attorney to come across an estate plan that clients drafted themselves. Drafting your own estate plan, although possible and cost-effective, is something estate planning practitioners advise against. There are numerous reasons to seek legal counsel, including the following:

First, estate plans by nature are complex legal documents. Many considerations such as who to select as the trustee, power of attorney or the guardian of your minor children require careful planning. A layperson may fail to consider important personal and legal factors that are crucial to these decisions.   ​

Second, do it yourself forms often do not include detailed and important language pertaining to distribution of assets to minor children or powers required to allow trustees to properly administer a trust.

Third, estate plans drafted by a layperson often do not account for assets located outside of the state which exposes the estate to probate. Such plans also fail to include provisions that allow the trustee to take steps necessary to reduce income and estate taxes.

Lastly, do it yourself forms do not provide for special needs trusts, pet trusts, and often provide no or misguided information on how to properly fund assets into a living trust, making the living trust invalid.

Saving cost is an attractive notion for everyone. However, cutting corners on estate plans can land your family in trust litigation or probate court. To learn how our attorneys can prepare your estate plan and keep your beneficiaries out of probate court, contact us today.


This material in this article, provided by Chauvel & Glatt, is designed to provide informative and current information as of the date of the post. It should not be considered, nor is it intended to constitute, legal advice or promise similar outcomes.  For information on your particular circumstances, please contact Chauvel & Glatt at 650-573-9500. (Photo credit: 123rf.com)


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