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Why You Need a Professional Estate Planner

BY: Law Offices of Andrew Cohen | December 18, 2020

We can all agree that we are living in unprecedented times. The pandemic has surged through our country and all over the world. While it is nice to break the tension and poke fun at the lack of toilet paper now and then, the unpleasant truth is many of us have lost people we love. Due to this uncertainty, some people attempt do-it-yourself estate planning. Unfortunately, the do-it-yourself method often overlooks crucial details only a trained professional will know. That’s why it is always good to consult an estate planning attorney.

When you need the best estate planning attorney in Santa Clarita, California, call us at the Law Offices of Andrew Cohen. We’re here for you.

Most Common Mistakes Made When DIY

Estate planning can be a difficult and arduous process. During the pandemic, many families feel a need to rush to implement a will or an estate plan. That’s where the internet may appear to come to the rescue with quick and easy estate planning forms and blogs. While DIY’s can be attractive, creating a DIY estate plan is like watching a YouTube video on cylinder engines and building a car. Mistakes will be made. Some of the most common mistakes are:

  • Not knowing what you need to ask: There is a reason why estate planning is a specialized service. Not thinking through the right concepts, and not being aware of issues, will lead to poor planning. Poor planning leads to problems later when they cannot be fixed or saved.
  • Your estate may not be as straightforward as you think: Given evolving laws and future changes in your own family, your situation may be more complicated than you realize.
  • Estate laws tend to be different in each state: You need to consult someone knowledgeable about California estate laws to protect your family.

Your Family Could Pay the Price of Your DIY Estate Plan

You might save some money at the moment by creating your own trust and estate plan. However, you could be passing on the costs to those you are trying to protect. If your estate plan isn’t sufficient or there are errors, even minor mistakes, the estate likely will end up in probate. In probate;

  1. The last will and testament need to be authenticated.
  2. A judge will appoint an executor or personal representative.
  3. Some instances require posting bond.
  4. An investigation will be launched to determine and locate the decedent’s assets.
  5. Account statements and appraisals will be made to determine the date of death values.
  6. Creditors must be found and notified.
  7. All the decedent’s debts must be paid.
  8. Tax returns are prepared and filed.
  9. After all the above steps have been completed, then the executor will petition the court to distribute the estate.

If beneficiaries cannot agree, probate can last for years. With court costs and filings, your estate can dwindle substantially in probate. A DIY estate plan or will can leave your family exposed to losing everything you meant for them to have.

Keep Your Family Secure

Don’t let your family suffer the consequences of a do-it-yourself estate plan. Consult our dedicated team to walk you through questions you never even thought to ask. We specialize in estate planning and will help you secure everything you have spent a lifetime building. When you need the best estate planning attorney in Santa Clarita, California, call us at the Law Offices of Andrew Cohen We’re here for you. You can contact us for a free consultation of your case by clicking here or calling 661-481-0100.

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