Here’s Why DIY Estate Planning Is Not A Good Idea

If you're reading this blog and don't have an updated will, you're not alone. According to Forbes, more than 63% of Americans are in the same boat as you. Another 9% have outdated wills.

Do you know what's worse than not having a will? It's DIYing your way through estate planning and not speaking with a local estate lawyer.



Here's why we don't recommend DIY estate planning.

Use of Improper Language

If you don't use the right legal terminology in your will or trust, it could affect your family's ability to handle the affairs after your death. The choice of words has a significant impact on the legal implementation of your will. If you're vague about anything, any clause regarding your finances, estate, and tax affairs could be misinterpreted. The court won't give you a second chance to clarify your intentions.

Even a simple typo could have disastrous results because the court takes the documents very literally. If you're not too careful, you might just end up $200,000 to the wrong beneficiary instead of $20,000. Careless wording and the missed fine print can later make your loved ones settle potential courtroom disputes. On the other hand, a professional estate plan is detailed, well-thought-out, transparent, and virtually inarguable.


State-Specific Legal Compliance

Estate planning laws vary from one estate to another. For instance, in Texas, a living will is called an advance directive. Similarly, the state law also allows you to assign a medical power of attorney who would honor your healthcare wishes after your death. Healthcare wishes may include not wanting to be kept alive on a respirator. This is different from a durable power of attorney for finances—who takes care of your finances.

In DIY estate planning, you won't necessarily have the right knowledge of what the law demands. If you miss out a state or federal formality in the process, the court could invalidate the entire estate plan!

No Legal Support

There is probably no single source on the internet that could address your personalized queries when it comes to estate planning. Other than the formalities mentioned above, there are many planning-related questions that you'll need answers for. You may need a legal representative to tell you whether you've assigned your desired power of attorney correctly. You'll also need them to walk you through the process of delegating healthcare responsibilities and choosing the right witnesses for will instead of choosing the wrong witnesses.


Here are some questions that you should know the answers to, but do you?

· What’s the difference between per stirpes and per capita?

· What does “my issue” mean?

· Does it matter if I have a nuclear family or blended family?

· Does my Will trump my IRA account beneficiary designation?

· What is a specific bequest?

· What is the “residue” of my estate?

· Can my sibling be a witness?

· What if my executors don’t get along?

· Who gets my money if my children die with me?

· Etc.

This is where the estate planning attorneys at Mike Massey Law come into play. If you're based in Houston, Austin, San Antonio, get in touch with us. We are helping individuals and families maximize their legacy with minimum hassle. Here are the details.

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Mike Massey JD, MBA, MPA just might be the 195th most interesting person in Texas. He has 4 college degrees and he's working on a 5th:  BBS Accounting; MPA Master's in Professional Accounting; JD Law Degree; MBA Master's in Business Administration; BBS in Biblical Studies (in progress).

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© 2020 Mike Massey Law.  Managing Attorney Mike Massey, 8911 Capital of Texas Hwy, Ste 3210, Austin, TX, 78759.  Email: mike@MyTxWills.com.  Phone: 888-407-2407.  Mike Massey, Texas Bar # 24032584. The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established. Privacy Statement.  Prices can vary based on your unique situation and potential add-on services.  Prices for in-office (in person) meetings typically cost more than virtual meetings that are done over the phone instead of in person.  Prices for virtual estate planning do not include an execution ceremony or notary, as those services are not available with our discounted virtual estate planning packages. If your a personal injury case client on a contingency fee, then if we do not win, you will not be responsible for attorney's fees, court costs, or litigation expenses, but if we do win money for you via a settlement or court verdict, then attorney's fees, court costs, litigation expenses and unpaid medical bills will be taken from your share of the recovery. Mike Massey Law is not responsible for your unpaid medical bills.

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