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The Easy Mistakes Most People Make When Doing Their Own Estate Planning … And How To Avoid Them

Common Mistakes Made In DIY Estate Planning

Mistakes Made When Creating An Estate Plan Without The Assistance Of An Attorney

One of the most common mistakes make when people do their own estate planning is creating a will that does not comply with the legal requirements for signing and executing the will.  If the requirements are not met, the will is thrown out by the court and the estate proceeds through probate as if a will was never written. For example, if mom or dad writes out their wishes on a piece of paper, their wishes will be completely disregarded in court, and property will pass in accordance with state law. The judge will not acknowledge or consider what they wanted.

Another common mistake is that people fail to update their documents.  For example, if someone fails to amend their will after becoming estranged from a beneficiary, then the beneficiary will remain part of the estate.

Common reasons that estate plans fail are:

  • People ignore their planning
  • The planning is not done correctly
  • People want to save a few dollars at the outset and attempt to “do it yourself”
  • And more…

Naturally, this creates a heap of trouble when someone passes away.  For example, if a person tries to write his or her own trust document on a legal website, and it is not correct, it may end up costing the surviving spouse tens of thousands of dollars in probate or other legal proceedings simply to avoid paying a few dollars upfront to protect the estate.

An additional mistake we often see is that people create a trust, often with a lawyer, but fail to fund it. In other words, people often think that simply creating a trust avoids probate. However, if a trust is not funded, the process is not complete and the estate will still have to go through probate.

Attorneys often do not handle the actual funding of trusts since they may not have access to their client’s finances, but attorneys are equipped with the knowledge and ability to guide clients to funding their trusts properly.  At Burke Faulkner, we provide all of our trust clients with funding guidelines and directions to ensure that their estate plan operates properly.

For more information about Estate Planning Law in Florida, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (727) 337-7979 today.

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