The problem with estate planning software
While it is tempting to forego using professionals to help with your estate planning solutions, creating an estate plan is not something to tackle on your own. It involves legal documents such as a Power of Attorney, an advanced healthcare directive, and wills and living trusts.
DIY estate planning software may look like an appealing alternative to hiring an attorney to help you craft your estate plan. But, the risks associated with all of these online services advertised on the internet may lead to unexpected and costly consequences that could derail the plans you have for your assets after your death.
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Picking the right solution
There are estate planning tools that have varying features and offer different benefits, depending upon your personal situation:
- Living trusts
- Living will or advanced directive
- Power of attorney
The main function of wills and trusts is to name the beneficiaries of your assets when you die. In a will you can name guardians for minor children, name an executor, forgive debts, and designate how to pay your taxes.
A living trust performs the same function, but your assets are transferred into the trust while you’re alive; you maintain control over them during your lifetime. You choose a trustee to manage and distribute those assets after your death. And, unlike a will, the assets in a living trust do not have to go through the probate process.
With revocable living trusts, you can amend the terms at any time; you can remove beneficiaries, choose new ones, and modify the terms on how the trust assets are managed. You can even revoke your trust if desired.
While completing a living trust using an online service may seem like an easy option, there are several reasons why DIY living trusts may be a bad idea:
- Online estate planning documents are generic – “one size fits all”
- State laws regarding property ownership, probate, estate taxes, gift and inheritance taxes vary from state to state
- States may have different rules and/or requirements for signing trust documents, having them notarized or witnessed for example
- Funding the trust with your assets will require additional documentation
San Diego living trust experts
While a DIY option may save you money in the short-term, the long-term result of any mistakes that occur when doing your own living trust could be disastrous, financially-speaking.
At the Law Office of David W. Foley, living trust attorneys in San Diego, California, we offer a variety of professional services for estate planning. As a family-owned firm, we understand how important a properly crafted legal document is to you and your heirs.
Our attorneys will take the time to listen and respond to any and all your questions, explaining your options and advising you as to which ones best fit your situation. We provide our clients with something you can’t get with DIY online services – that all-important personal touch.