Despite the critical importance of asset organization and estate planning, only 42% of US adults have drafted a will. The danger of the Covid-19 pandemic has provoked an uptick in the numbers but in many cases, folks are little more protected than when they had no estate planning document in place. The reason is that the risks of venturing outside alongside the economic uncertainty of the moment drive many to DIY platforms.
However good intentioned, this strategy over backfires, costing a person more in the long term than had they sought professional help from the beginning. After all, even simple mistakes can invalidate estate planning documents. When this happens, probate court follows and can be time consuming and unpredictably expensive.
Complete Estate Planning means more than just having a will.
Frequently, folks focus on “who gets your stuff when you die” without realizing that proper estate planning includes disability planning. If, say, your spouse becomes incapacitated and you need to pay the expenses of care out of his or her retirement account, and the only planning in place is a will, you will turn to the courts in hopes that a judge will approve and authorize access to the funds.
There is no substitute for professional advice.
The issue with online platforms isn’t necessarily slipshod service—though, it can be—but that estate law is ever-changing and each individual’s circumstances are different. These variables make it near-impossible to offer a thorough, individualized DIY estate plan or will.
Any attorney worth their salt will do just this, taking pains to consider your individual goals in organizing your assets. In addition, a professional will guide you through planning end-of-life care such that your life’s work remains protected not only should you pass, but should you become incapacitated, as well.
Law offices are open nation-wide.
Estate planners and elder law attorneys remain open as an essential service and those invested in their practice are crafting creative ways to assist clients. Drive-up, no-contact signings have become common-place and, of course, most all attorneys are providing over-the-phone and online service
Don’t hesitate to call.
If the Covid-19 pandemic has led you to reconsider your need for a professionally-drafted estate plan or if you simply find yourself ready to dive in to a process we promise is less painful than it may seem, give us a call. We’d be happy to chat about an approach that works for you!
Contact Attorney James M. Miskell