From home renovation projects to a drive-thru dinner, individuals have become accustomed to completing tasks at their own speed on their own schedule. Now that the internet places an incredible amount of information at people’s fingertips, these same individuals often decide to explore the do-it-yourself nature of complex paperwork. Unfortunately, there are certain hazards that come with this line of thinking.
While several documents make up a comprehensive estate plan, the foundation lies in a strong will. Individuals craft their will to name beneficiaries and explain their wishes regarding the distribution of inheritance after their passing. Even though this might be a straightforward concept for those with limited assets, as wealth continues to grow, the will becomes more and more complex. By the time individuals must tackle investment properties, digital assets, vacation homes, retirement funds and a stock portfolio, the will can be overwhelming.
The will might never be perfect
When an individual completes the initial version of the will, it might become clear there were omissions. People often:
- Forget to include secondary beneficiaries
- Forget to include provisions for travel or shipping costs
- Forget to include sentimental property
- Forget to include digital assets
Even when these errors and omissions are corrected, individuals should update their estate plan on a regular basis. For example, any significant life event such as a change in marital status or the purchase of a new home should automatically trigger a review and revision of the estate plan. In addition, many financial experts agree that individuals should revise certain elements of the estate plan every three to five years to ensure the documents still match up with an individual’s wishes.
Relying on a chosen legal professional for guidance can reduce your exposure to errors and forgotten contingencies in the estate plan. While the DIY path might seem like a convenient, cost-effective option, it is wise to work with someone who can answer your questions and look out for your best interests.