How can do-it-yourself estate planning harm your family?
There are quite a few ways and I will discuss a few of them now.
I’m Sarah Siedentopf. I’m an Estate Planning and Probate Attorney in Atlanta, Georgia. And the first way that it can hurt your family is actually costing more.
Often, when DIY wills and DIY trusts walk in the door, there are questions about whether they are valid, and time and research that costs money has to be put into figuring out if these documents actually have the effect that you intended. And of course, at that point, you’ve actually passed away and we can’t fix anything. And then we present them to the court who also has questions and that’s more time and money, trying to figure out what’s going on. And then, maybe it isn’t legally valid, not enough witnesses, maybe we can’t find the witness and there was no notary. And suddenly, instead of having your spouse inherit everything, your spouse and your children are splitting everything. This isn’t what you wanted, but this is what happens in Georgia when you don’t have a will.
And speaking of children inheriting, what happens when your children who are minor children inherit? Suddenly, there has to be a conservatorship set up by the court. It would have been better for you to have chosen who should be in charge in your will, set up a trustee. And what if it’s real property? Suddenly, we have a minor child on the title to real property and we’re gonna have a whole lot of trouble selling it or doing anything with it without a court-okay before that child turns 18. On top of all this, a lot of times do-it-yourself documents don’t cover all of the possibilities. And so, anytime there is ambiguity, it can lead to family fighting. It’s easy to think that my family loves me and they will follow my wishes, but anytime you don’t have legally binding wishes in place, it can lead to quite a problem.
Lastly, sometimes it just doesn’t get done because estate planning isn’t something you wanna do while you’re relaxing over a weekend and it just never quite happens. And so of course, we’re back to the no estate plan at all situation. So, these are some ways that do-it-yourself estate planning can actually harm your family rather than helping it. If you’ve got more questions about estate planning, please give me a call, and I would also love to have your comments, thank you.
#diyestateplanningisdangerous #estateplanning #siedentopflaw
Siedentopf Law specializes in helping people in the Atlanta, Georgia area plan their estates and wills, probate estates of family members, and work through probate disputes. We strive to make estate planning and probate as easy as possible, providing a concierge experience through traditional office visits, video conferencing, and visits to hospitals and assisted living centers for those who cannot drive themselves.
Contact through this website or via email does not create an attorney-client relationship. Our firm will not represent you until the terms of our representation are discussed, mutually agreed upon, and memorialized in writing. All law referred to on these videos is Georgia law.
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