Many in Texas and elsewhere thrive on the challenge of taking care of household projects and repairs themselves in an attempt to save on the costs they might incur if hiring a professional. Some have a similar mindset where finances and estate planning are concerned. A recent article suggested caution in this area and outlined the pros and cons of do-it-yourself planning when it comes to trusts, wills and estates.
According to the article, planning one's estate typically involves various important documents that have an effect, not only on the future for one's heirs, but also on the way in which one's estate will be administered after death. The three main documents mentioned were an advanced directive, power-of-attorney and a will. Though none of these is required, each document of its type serves a vital purpose toward a smooth transition of assets in the event of an estate owner's death, or a condition of health which renders him or her incapable of conducting his or her own affairs.
Often, probate and estate laws vary by state. Therefore, attempting to document one's wishes with regard to beneficiaries, executors or any number of other pertinent issues that will affect one's heirs can be complex and overwhelming. The article also mentioned that there are means by which one can create and access legal documents online, but unless someone has a sophisticated understanding of legal jargon and many of the nuances involved in planning an estate, it might become difficult to proceed without professional assistance.
Laws in many areas, including Texas, often change with regard to estate planning. Because it could prove difficult for the average person to keep abreast of these changes, it makes sense to consult a legal professional with experience in probate and estate administration law when attempting to compile the necessary documents to ensure that one's wishes will be carried out when it comes time for an inheritance to be transmitted. Seeking legal advice throughout the planning process might prevent complications and disputes between family members further down the line.
Source: unionleader.com, "Money Sense: Do-it-yourself estate planning has potential pitfalls", Mark A. Hebert, March 7, 2015