With the increasing popularity of both the internet and electronic devices in recent decades, it is possible to find do-it-yourself instructions for virtually anything. With dozens of sites on the topic, estate planning is no exception. In fact, with just a quick search, you can probably find generic estate planning forms.
In broad terms, estate planning is the process you use to address ownership of your assets after your death. Your estate plan may also help you prepare for end-of-life care. Because your estate plan covers serious and complex matters, there simply is no substitute for the assistance and advice of an experienced attorney.
The intricacies of state law
Estate planning is mostly a matter of state law. To prepare a will, trust, power of attorney or any other estate-related document that passes legal muster, you must be familiar with the intricacies in California’s statutes and court opinions. If you make even a seemingly small error, your entire estate plan or key parts of it may be void or voidable.
The burden on your loved ones
With a comprehensive and legal estate plan, you may help your loved ones avoid the complicated probate process. You may also minimize their tax burden. If your plan is not legally precise, though, someone may have grounds to contest it. This may force your relatives and friends to attend drawn-out hearings and pay steep legal fees.
The importance of peace of mind
After writing your estate plan, it is critical to review and update it from time to time. If you work with an attorney, your lawyer may notify you about changes in the law that affect your estate plan. Likewise, if your intentions change, your attorney may also have much of the information necessary to modify the plan quickly and effectively.
Ultimately, estate planning should give you and your loved ones some peace of mind. When you work with an experienced attorney, you remove lingering doubts about the accuracy, completeness and legality of your estate plan.