It's no secret that everyone prefers to save money. This is perfectly fine when you are talking about groceries, auto repairs or vacation deals. However, there are some areas where frugality doesn't pay off in the long run: The law is one of them. In today's internet age, it seems like there are a lot of low-cost, software-based options to help you create an estate plan. Yet, these cookie cutter solutions often provide a false sense of security. Those who are serious about creating a solid estate plan would be wise to seek the help of an experienced attorney.
It's Different Than Doing Your Taxes
Many people mistakenly believe that creating a will or trust is the same as doing your taxes. You should be aware that these are two totally different things. Most people are perfectly competent to handle the average tax filing. They also benefit from quick feedback regarding the process. The IRS generally reviews each filing and makes adjustments or sends notices. Estate plans do not share these benefits.
In most cases, the results of a poorly plan estate will not be noticeable until after the creator passes away. Thus, you will never even know if you did things the right way. However, your relatives may have to deal with the legal quagmire that you've left behind. Furthermore, the end result could be a lot different from what you originally intended. Just imagine what would happen if one of your heirs becomes disinherited due to a simple mistake.
The Problem With Estate Software
Most of the estate planning software on the market is not up to par. There are simply too many different rules and scenarios to use a one-size-fits-all approach. Most software will simply have you fill in the blanks in designated areas. In some cases, this can cause problems when making a disposition. When your wishes are stated improperly, and there is no one to revise it, the court may have to make modifications later on.
Changes in the Law
Nothing in the legal world lasts forever. The laws and regulations affecting the area of estate law practically change on an annual basis. In Utah, 2019 brought with it a host of newly minted laws. In fact, the legislature set a new record by passing 574 laws. You can't assume that your internet-based service will be up to date with the latest happenings. The failure to recognize new changes in the law could have a significant impact on the future of your family.
Other Types of Issues
In fact, there are a multitude of different problems that can arise with DIY wills. For one, consider who will explain your intentions if something is unclear? Relatives are prohibited from doing so. However, your estate lawyer could be of assistance in this regard. Also, who will possess the will for the remainder of your life? Wills can be revoked if they are not found in time. Yet, if you hire an estate attorney, you will have a proper guardian.
One major area of concern with DIY estate plans concerns changes of circumstances. Deaths, divorces and births can all affect a will after it is created. If you make a will online and forget about it, you might not comply with statutes such as section 75-2-803 of the Utah Code. Again, this can mean that the disposition of your will will end up different than you intend.
Qualified Legal Help Is Essential
Hopefully, you now realize why it is necessary to work with an experienced attorney. End of life issues can be far more complicated than you realize. Therefore, whenever an estate law issue arises in your life, it is best to look for an estate lawyer or probate attorney.
For assistance with estate law matters in Utah, contact Spencer & Jensen PLLC.