Many people in Texas want to save time and money, and it can be tempting to rely on a variety of DIY websites for your estate plan. Few people look forward to considering the distribution of their property after their death. In addition, many people have a wide range of bank accounts, insurance policies or retirement funds, most of which pass through a beneficiary designation rather than through the probate process. As a result, people may think they do not need professional advice when thinking about the future of their property.
DIY tools offer general, not individual, advice
However, there can be some downsides to a do-it-yourself approach to estate planning. While online tools have improved, they do not offer the professionalized or unique advice that an experienced estate planning attorney can provide. A comprehensive estate plan can extend far beyond making a will. In addition, estate planning is not a one-time process; instead, it requires ongoing attention and revision.
Keeping your estate plan up to date
Many people make a will and then forget about it; however, wills should be reviewed regularly, as people may not make changes when they divorce or remarry or after loved ones pass away. People’s plans for the future may also change along with their financial circumstances, but if the will is not updated, those older decisions will still hold in most cases. Others may hope to use a trust to avoid the probate process, but failing to coordinate a will and a trust document may lead to additional delays and expenses for surviving loved ones.
Online and other DIY will solutions often cannot provide accurate guidance about what type of trust should be created in these circumstances. In addition, an estate planning process may not be complete without ensuring other key documents are in place, such as naming a health care representative in an advance directive or living will or naming a financial power of attorney in case of incapacity.