I think it is very important that you read the report below from the American Bar Association (ABA) Task Force on ‘Do it Yourself’ (DIY) Estate Planning. You will see from the ABA Task Force Report how DIY Estate Planning forms and kits had devastating and catastrophic financial, legal and emotional consequences for families. A New Jersey man who used a DIY Will form thought he was saving money before he died but it costs his family tens of thousands of dollars along with inflicting unnecessary mental anguish on them.
I would also encourage you to share this blog with your family, friends, neighbors and anyone you remotely care about so they do not make the same mistakes as the man from New Jersey. I would strongly discourage you from creating your family’s estate plan with DIY forms. I’m all for DIY things in life provided the outcome or consequences, if they are not done correctly, are not dangerous or catastrophic for your family and loved ones. For example, I am very comfortable changing light bulbs around the house, but I would never mess with electrical wiring because the outcome could be dangerous and catastrophic to my family. I would call a licensed electrician to keep us safe. This would give me ‘peace of mind’ knowing that a skilled and trained professional with many years of schooling and real world experience did the job right!
The same goes if you had a toothache. I would not advise buying a DIY kit or watching youtube videos to drill your teeth and fill a cavity. You should always call a licensed dentist who has many years of education and experience to get you out of pain.
I feel the same goes for proper estate planning. The legal documents are important but they are absolutely useless and will NOT work if the language is not specifically relevant to your unique family circumstances. Additionally, there are so many legal technical nuances to estate planning that take an educated and well trained estate planning attorney with years of experience to identify issues and then carefully design and draft an estate plan that works for that clients unique family circumstances! There is no “one size shoe fits all” in estate planning.
From my experience for estate planning to work properly it also requires a caring and patient estate planning attorney to work closely with a family to counsel them on effective legal solutions and strategies that will meet the clients’ unique goals, concerns, needs and circumstances. A good estate planning attorney will give you ‘peace of mind’ to wash away the worries of the things that used to keep you up at night.
Our firm doesn’t believe in selling documents to people because documents become outdated and eventually won’t work! We create relationships with our unique Three Step Estate Planning Process to custom create our clients ‘Life & Estate Plan’ as follows:
Step 1: We work closely with our client to custom “Design and Draft” their ‘Life & Estate Plan’ to meet their specific goals, needs and concerns.
Step 2: We utilize our firm’s “Trust Funding Process” to transfer our clients assets and property into their Trust to avoid the expenses and consequences of the ‘4 Ring Circus of Life’ (Probate Court, Estate Taxes, Financial Creditors & Predators and Nursing Home liens)
Step 3: We use our formal “Client Maintenance & Update Program” to keep our clients estate plans reviewed and updated due to the 3 L’s in Life. (Changes in Laws, Life & Learning)
The end result is a successful estate plan that worked for the client. It keeps there costs down, avoids the stresses, delays and uncertainties of probate court, taxes, creditors and nursing home liens. The family all still get along with no fighting.
Read the American Bar Association (ABA) Task Force on ‘Do it Yourself’ (DIY) Estate Planning report in the link below to learn how a DIY estate plan had catastrophic consequences for the family left behind:
If you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation please call Attorney Patrick Kelleher at 781-871-PLAN (7526) or by email at Pat@myfamilylifeplan.com
Our firm helps families taking care of them for life. We not only “create” their Will and Trust, but we “maintain it and keep it updated” for them throughout their life! The meter is not running for our ‘Client Care Plan’ members!
Patrick J. Kelleher is a South Shore, MA resident and estate planning attorney serving and protecting families and businesses in the South Shore, MA area. For more information on estate planning visit our firm’s website at www.MyFamilyLifePlan.comwhere you can check out our Blog, free Newsletter library, free Estate Planning Channel on Youtube and sign up for a Free e-Newsletter!
Also serving the following communities South of Boston; Quincy, Milton, Braintree, Randolph, Holbrook, Weymouth, Scituate, Norwell, Hingham, Cohasset, Hull, Hanover, Pembroke, Duxbury, Marshfield, Plymouth, Rockland, Hanson, Halifax, Plympton, Carver, Abington, Whitman, Kingston
This article is not intended to provide legal or tax advice or create or imply an attorney-client relationship. This article is for educational and informational purposes. No information contained herein is a substitute for a personal consultation with an attorney.