The Wall Street Journal recently published an article about the different ways to conduct your estate planning matters online and digitally without having to meet with a lawyer. While this might seem like great news given the current circumstances amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, there are still numerous shortfalls you need to be aware of if you are considering drafting estate planning documents without advice from an experienced attorney.
At Kitzke & Canfield LLC, we have firsthand experience with countless clients who come to us because they run into issues with estate planning documents they drafted themselves or with the help of online templates. Here are a few of the common problems people have after attempting to handle their estate planning affairs without guidance from qualified legal professionals.
State Laws Vary
Simply typing in “estate planning” into a search engine will produce tons of links to online forms that claim to make the process easy enough for anyone to follow. But how do you know these forms you found on the internet will actually work? The last thing you want is to leave your loved ones with a documents that don’t meet your states requirements because it was improperly drafted and missing crucial information. This is where getting advice from an estate planning lawyer is useful. State laws, tax laws, and federal laws all need to be considered when creating a comprehensive estate plan. A lawyer can ensure that your documents are valid and properly executed so that you know your beneficiaries will be able to obtain the assets you leave behind.
Tax Liability Issues
One of the top priorities clients have when drafting estate plans is to utilize various legal strategies to avoid or minimize income, estate, and capital gains taxes. But if you neglect to have your estate planning documents evaluated by a lawyer, you can’t be 100% sure that the online tools you’re using fully consider all applicable tax laws for your financial situation. But if you consult with an estate planning lawyer, you can get valuable advice on which types of trusts you need to reduce tax liability on assets you own.
Lack of Useful Information
Although an online estate planning template may seem quick and easy to use if you need a legal document drafted, you miss the opportunity to get in-depth legal advice. Estate plans shouldn’t be one-size-fits-all. A strong estate plan needs to be tailored to your unique needs, which is why you should talk to a lawyer about how to formulate an extensive plan that will protect your interests.
Our Dedicated Estate Planning Lawyers Can Assist You Today
If you plan to use online forms to draft your estate planning documents because it will be cheaper than working with a lawyer, ask yourself if it’s really worth the risk. The money you save now might not even matter if you run into legal issues administering your estate. Save yourself and your loved ones from these hassles by speaking to a lawyer at Kitzke & Canfield LLC today about which legal documents you need in your estate plan to ensure your legacy is protected.
Call us at (262) 387-0706 or contact us online to request a consultation with a member of our legal team.