What Do You Miss Out on With a DIY Will?
If you make a DIY will, you miss out on many important things including:
- Legal advice on whether your will is valid or not. State laws can differ so you need to make certain you follow Maryland rules. Buying a DIY will kit online or otherwise trying to make a DIY will is not necessarily going to ensure your will is valid, since you may not know all of the laws in Maryland. There are also execution and witness requirements, which may be hard to obtain if you only have a DIY will kit.
- Advice on other aspects of estate planning. Making an estate plan is not just about a will. You may also need to do other things, like creating a power of attorney in case of incapacity or like Medicaid planning to protect assets so you don’t spend down your wealth if you need to go into a nursing home.
- Information on estate taxes. A death can sometimes trigger estate tax which can affect your ability to leave a legacy. An experienced attorney can help you to evaluate whether estate taxes are an issue in your situation. If so, your attorney can help explore ways to avoid taxes being assessed on the wealth you leave behind to your loved ones when you pass away.
- Details on the implications of your estate plan. If you make a DIY will and leave your assets to loved ones, you may not be aware of the important implications this could have. For example, if you were to leave money to a relative with a disability, you could cause a loss of access to government benefits. You wouldn’t necessarily know this if you didn’t talk to an estate planning lawyer who could explain the consequences of your decision.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all of the possible downsides of making a DIY will. Don’t try to handle something so important on your own when there are caring legal professionals at SinclairProsser Law who can help you.
Consequences of a Bad DIY Will?
In addition to missing out on legal advice that you need to make a solid estate plan, you also take the risk that your wishes will not be respected on end-of-life issues or on transfer of assets after death. If your will or other estate planning tools aren’t enforceable because you did not follow the proper processes for creating these essential legal documents, this means default rules will apply.
Your estate will be distributed according to intestacy law if you haven’t made other provisions like a legally enforceable will. The court will consider Maryland laws on guardianship to determine if you’re incapacitated and who to appoint as a guardian if you need one. You will have lost any sense of autonomy and all control over your future and will simply be left with Maryland laws dictating what happens to you, your assets, and the people you love.
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