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DIY estate planning presents some risks

For many families in Texas, making sure that their assets are passed down to their children is essential. Well-thought-out estate planning can make this possible. Although some families might be tempted to use online estate plan forms when completing this process, these DIY documents feature many shortcomings that can jeopardize the administration of an estate.

One major issue with DIY legal documents is that they often omit essential legal language. For instance, a revocable trust online might not provide language specifying where assets should go if a beneficiary predeceases the person who set up the trust. In this situation, an estate may end up in the hands of an in-law or another unintended family member.

Another potential problem with using online documents is that simply filling out these documents is not enough to accomplish an estate owner's goals. The documents also have to be executed correctly based on state law. Otherwise, they will not be deemed valid. For instance, a revocable living trust document will be totally ineffective if it is not funded correctly, and online instructions for doing this may not be correct or complete.

Working with an attorney during the estate planning process in Texas provides assurance that a created estate plan will actually be executed properly and thus will be considered valid in the years ahead. In addition, the attorney can ensure that the estate plan is an appropriate fit for the person creating it. With the right estate plans, the owners of estates can rest assured that their assets will be distributed according to their wishes when they pass away.

Source: tcpalm.com, "Self-help legal plan have many flaws", Robert D. Schwartz, April 12, 2017

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