We hear this question all the time: “Can’t I just grab a will off the internet, do a transfer-on-death deed for my land, put my kids on my bank account, and be done with my estate plan?”
It’s just not a good idea. For the plan to work as you would want it to, it should account for plenty of complications. A good plan should protect your spouse and your children from loss of valuable government benefits, if anybody is or becomes disabled. The plan should avoid the delay and expense of probate court. The plan should protect money from children’s creditors or divorce or remarriage. It should be crafted to serve family harmony and to avoid disputes between children as joint owners.
Even a relatively simple situation is made up of many moving parts. Internet documents and joint-ownership devices just won’t do the job.
Also, assembling the moving parts so they work smoothly is just the first step. Your estate plan needs maintenance too, just like your car has a “check engine” light. Major family events like serious illness or death, marriage, birth, or financial reversals are alerts that you should tune up your plan to reflect those changes. Your plan shouldn’t be “one and done.”
It takes expertise to coordinate the various strategies available. Don’t risk a result that will cause your family problems and unnecessary expense. Call us to create a plan that harmonizes the moving parts, so the gears will work together and you will leave the legacy you intended.
— Dara M. Hensel, Estate Planning Paralegal at Rebecca W. Geyer & Associates P.C.