Do-It-Yourself (DIY) estate planning is not uncommon for most consumers. Most people utilize DIY estate planning to save money but it is risky. For instance, there are tons of resources online that permit you to put together a will for less than $100 also there is a california approved will and trust forms you can download or copy for free.
However many lawyers do estate planning for very reasonable fees while very talented lawyers and even judges such as former Supreme Court Justice have been known to make serious errors with their estate plans. Abraham Lincoln put his off and died without a will. Read on to make your own call.
Many times small estates are handled with joint or survivorship rights on accounts and the will itself is never used. No trust was needed beyond the account arrangement
If the value of your estate is under $150,000, no probate process is necessary just an affidavit by the person who is entitled to your estate. However if you have one or more heirs then matters become complicated.
If your estate is valued over $150,000, another set of rules apply and probate is an issue. Many people do not want probate however this is not a universal rule. A will supervised by a judge is far better than a family squabble over seen by lawyers in a feeding frenzi.
A durable power of attorney for healthcare decisions is an advance directive , stating whether or not to remain on artificial life support.
A last will and testament permits you to distribute real property, personal property, and financial accounts to your chosen beneficiaries upon your death. A revocable trust allows you to retain control over all of the assets in your trust, and the terms can be revoked or changed at anytime. An irrevocable trust is similar to a revocable trust, but you will not be permitted to make changes to the terms of the trust.
An experienced estate planning attorney will know what type of tools to best utilize to distribute the assets of your estate in a time efficient manner to your designated beneficiaries, in addition to saving you money pertaining to estate taxes such as by drafting a irrevocable living trusts.
Most importantly, if you are worried about federal estate planning taxes, have questions about passing on your small business, or wish to leave money to charity, then you should contact an experienced estate planning attorney for guidance.
Contact me for more information on what type of estate planning tools is best for your life and end-of-life matters.