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Unintended Consequences of Do-It-Yourself Estate Plans

I am all for the “Do it Yourself” (“DIY”) movement.  Why pay someone to do something that can just as easily be done on your own?  I scan my own groceries.  I wash my own car.  And I have thought about changing my car’s oil.  And here’s where it gets interesting for me:

I understand that the changing of a car’s oil is a pretty simple process.  But, I also understand if I mess something up – if I don’t tighten a cap enough (or if it is too tight) or if I use the wrong oil – there are big, and expensive, issues that will arise.  So I leave it to the experts to make sure my car is treated right!

When it comes to estate planning, there is a general misconception that it, like changing a car’s oil, is a simple process.  And in some cases it may be pretty straightforward (I wrote recently about the “Default Plan” that the State provides).  But in most instances, there is too much to consider and account for, making even the “simplest” plans complicated.

At the heart of the complexities is Title 26 of the United States Code (dealing with our favorite topic, Taxes).  Between the actual written law, and the IRS’ additional interpretations and regulations around the law, there are nearly 17,000 pages of text.  That is a lot of information to take into account when planning your estate.

Then there are the state’s laws on death and succession.  InArizona, there are 12 chapters, containing 67 articles, and inNew Mexicothere are 2 chapters, containing 23 articles (and even more numerous parts and subparts).  In addition to the laws, there are the court cases that interpret the laws.  All of this means that there are a lot of things to know and consider when developing your estate plan.

If you decide to create a DIY estate plan, you have decided to save a couple dollars in the present, but you most likely have created some big and expensive issues in the future.  You cannot plan for that which you do not know.  To truly save yourself, and your family, needless headaches and money, come and talk with an expert about how to develop the best plan for you.

Here at Morris Hall, we practice exclusively in estate planning!  Through our continuing education and our estate planning focus, we stay abreast of the latest changes in laws that can affect your plan.

We would be happy to sit down with you at a free consultation and discuss your situation and prepare an estate plan for you.  Give us a call at 888.222.1328 today!

Contributed by MH attorney James P. Plitz

Why Choose Morris Hall:
You have a number of options when it comes to estate planning, so why pick Morris Hall?  First off, estate planning and asset protection are a very complicated endeavor and you should only trust someone who focuses exclusively on those matters.  Also, MH is a proud member of The American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys (AAEPA) which provides us additional support, advanced training, tools and information that is not available to others – which means that we can better protect your assets and your loved ones.  We are one of only two firms in Arizona that belong to the AAEPA and are the only firm in New Mexico that has been granted membership.  If you have assets and loved ones that you want to protect, you are in good hands with MH.  Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!

This blog should be used for informational purposes only.  It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice.  If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.

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