Online Estate Plans May Result in Unnecessary Litigation
When you develop your estate plan, you are deciding the best way to keep your memory alive and pass on your legacy to loved ones. When your property and assets are valued and considered with the help of an estate planning attorney, you can have peace of mind knowing it was decided with the best interests of all involved. While death taxes used to be considered the biggest threat to your beneficiaries receiving all of what you intended, a larger threat has taken its place: litigation.
How the Internet Affects Estate Planning
Estate planning attorneys are no stranger to families fighting over a will. Sometimes it is due to the lack of an estate plan while other fights are caused because the family simply did not get along with one another to begin with. However, more and more cases are popping up that do not fit into either of these categories. Instead, they concern pre-developed estate plans obtained from the internet.
There are many reasons you may think that developing an estate plan without the help of a lawyer is a good idea: cost and time involved to name just a couple. With the rise of the internet and internet-based legal services, some people may find themselves making slight changes to forms, printing them out, and using this for estate planning. While this may be a good place to start, you need to think of your estate plan as a living document. If anything changes, you need to know that your estate planning concerns are properly addressed.
For example, in a recent case, a woman left all of her property to her sister, unless her sister predeceased her, in which case her brother would receive her assets. The sister passed first and left her property to the woman. When the woman died, her brother was unable to access all of the property left by his sister since the additional assets were not properly titled nor identified in her estate plan. Even with information indicating that her property was to be left to her brother, the additional assets that were inherited from her sister were placed in intestacy and given to other relatives, contrary to the women's intent. In this case, the internet form that was used was either missing some critical provisions or the woman deleted them not understanding their purpose.
Working with a qualified estate planning attorney can help to ensure that your property is distributed the way you intend following your death.
Here is a link below to the full article regarding avoidable litigation resulting from the use of pre-printed estate plans:
Pederson Law Offices cares about your legacy. Call our firm to begin or revisit your estate planning today.