Automation has been the pervading factor in all the walks of life today. The internet has facilitated many applications that allow you to do things at the click of a button. You can initiate an investment, you can buy and sell stocks and even pay your taxes online. In this era of digital independence, there has been a spate of automation that promises to do your estate planning for you. You will be attracted by cheap costs and apparent ease of functionality and imagine that legal documents can be pre-drafted by automation. But it is a fallacy!
The Human Touch Is Integral To Estate Planning
There are applications and software that can be filled by adding some data to them. The legal documents are pre-fabricated in a standard manner and you can add your personal inputs to create a standardized estate plan. This is full of pitfalls. No two estates are exactly the same. You cannot have the same family structure or needs to match the estate. In short one size fits all is not the right way to create an estate plan.
There are many dimensions to an estate planning strategy. The experienced professional will be able to sort out your needs and fit your plans to match your family’s needs and the type of assets you hold. The automated process has no quality control checkpoints and you could easily make a mistake that can cost your family very dearly. You may be spending too much but still leave your goals unmet.
Why Estate Planning Is Best Left To Professionals
The most common mistake that people make while trying to make an estate plan is to try to do it themselves. There are many reasons why this most important task is often relegated to a dark corner.
· The Will is your final testament, but it is not a binding legal directive. It does not need mandatory filing or any kind of inspection. The court is not a part of the picture while drafting a Will. Thus, people make it a cursory document that may or may not be comprehensive in nature.
· People feel wary of declaring all their assets in a written format. This is especially true for senior citizens. This distrust often leads to faulty disclosures and attempts to make the plan by yourself. It is a major issue when tax efficiency and legal costs threaten to take away a significant portion of the estate because of faulty planning.
· Laws are always in a state of flux. They keep evolving and it is hard to track all the nuances if you are not conversant with the legal world. This is also a major problem with DIY estate planning. You are never sure when you make changes as the law has changed. This gap may create trouble after you die and your heirs face the music.
· There are many ways to optimize estate planning. A Will, trusts and gifts are among the many tools that an estate planning lawyer uses in harmony to make the plan that suits your needs perfectly. It is not possible for a layman to know about all the tools that aid a perfect plan.
Continuity Is Necessary for Estate Planning
You make your estate plan once and forget about it. The professional planner will ensure that you review your plan every few years to make the requisite changes to suit your changing needs. Lawyers often ensure that your documentation is well recorded even at their end. This continuity can be maintained by a professional even when your lawyer is unavailable or incapacitated.
This is very important as you grow older and your estate grows more complex. The older you get, the more the need to have a professional who knows your directives closely. Your legal heirs need to know about your end of life medical care and financial power of attorney. Your will and other estate planning tools come into effect after you have died.
The professional who helped draft and continues with the reviews of your estate plan is of prime importance then. He/she will be in a position to help your family access your assets. They will help in the probate process and sort out any legal hassles that may crop up. You will not be there to help your family at this time, but your trusted estate planner will be. Your family will get the help and expert guidance of the professional lawyer who knows all about your strategy.