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Estate planning: too important to DIY

Many Brevard County homeowners love to do many house improvements on their own. They enjoy fixing what ails their home and sometimes adding new and attractive features as well. Not everyone enjoys home DIY projects, of course, but all homeowners realize that the more they can repair themselves, the less they will spend on plumbers, carpenters and others.

That do-it-yourself attitude makes a lot of sense around the home, but it can cause real problems in estate planning. A recent article about online estate planning services makes it clear that while these companies can be cheap, their products are littered with omissions that could be costly for loved ones.

The online services typically have fill-in-the-blank forms for consumers. Unfortunately, the forms too often omit important legal language and protections.

One omission example cited: a form for a revocable trust didn’t include language needed to specify where your assets should go if a beneficiary died before you. Without that language, those assets could go to someone you did not intend to be a beneficiary.

The form also omitted a provision for incapacitation of the person who created the document.

As the writer noted, Florida law has strict rules about homestead property transfers. If estate planning documents fail to adhere to the law, it’s likely that an intended transfer of your homestead upon death will be deemed invalid by the court. Worst of all, it is very possible that the property will be distributed in a way not consistent with your wishes.

These omissions can cause needless complications for your loved ones and wind up distributing your assets in a way that’s contrary to what you intended.

It makes sense to speak instead to a cost-effective estate planning attorney who knows the law and can help you protect your loved ones and your assets.

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