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Just Because Your Friends are Relying on DIY Estate Planning Does Not Mean it is a Good Idea

On Behalf of | Feb 20, 2020 | Firm News |


It happens all the time. When you need a good doctor, plumber, mechanic or any other expert, you ask friends or family for recommendations. In a pinch you may ask a coworker for his or her opinion. If all else fails, you turn to the internet.

By now you may have heard that do-it-yourself, or “DIY”, law is all the rage. Perhaps you heard about it from a friend who created a power of attorney using forms from an office supply store. Maybe a co-worker created his last will and testament using forms from a legal website. As the old saying goes, however, just because your friends are doing it does not mean it is a good idea.

You need a Florida estate planning lawyer. Contrary to popular belief, getting sound legal advice from an attorney is essential. In fact, it is crucial if you are creating an estate plan, or even revising an existing plan. What you may not realize is that without appropriate guidance there could be costly and unpleasant consequences. Specifically, there is a chance that a key piece of your estate plan may be invalid or it may not yield anticipated results. This may easily happen if you are not familiar with the state laws governing the creation of these documents.

Consider the following scenario. Unbeknownst to you, your state laws mandate that your personal representative live in the same state as you. Because you are unaware of the rules, you go ahead and choose someone who lives in another part of the country. Ultimately, that person will not be allowed to fulfill his or her obligations in this role. That in turn will complicate matters during probate. Inevitably, it will also cause more stress and angst for your loved ones during a difficult time.

Another concern is that generic legal forms may not accommodate your situation.  An estate planning lawyer has the skills and experience needed to craft language that protects your interests and provides for your family. This is especially helpful if:

  • You have been married more than once.
  • You own your own business.
  • You have property in more than one state.
  • You have a family member with special needs.
  • You have children who are not yet 18.
  • You have children that require special supervision or care.
  • You do not have any children.
  • You want to leave some or all of your assets to charity.
  • You have substantial assets in retirement plans.
  • You are recently divorced.
  • A spouse or loved one died recently.
  • You have a taxable estate for federal and/or state estate tax purposes.

Our goal is to help you create a Florida estate plan to protect you and your loved ones now, and in the years to come. Whether you are considering a brand new plan or just need to change an existing plan, we encourage you to contact us to schedule a meeting.