last will and testament

You can create your own will. However, mistakes can turn out to be costly.

There are hidden dangers in creating your own will, according to The New York Times in “Wills Can Avert Family Warfare, but Have Their Own Hidden Traps.”

Most Americans do not have a will but a greater percentage of Americans have them than ever before. One of the reasons for the increase is that it is easy and cheap to get wills today. You can purchase downloadable forms from several different services.

However, there are some hidden dangers.

The biggest issue is that the probate process is different in every state.

Submitting a will to probate in most states is a very expensive and time-consuming process. That suggests that probate avoidance strategies should be used, which could lead some people to utilize a trust instead of a will as their primary estate planning vehicle.

Trusts, however, are more expensive to get than wills and, there are some states in which probate is relatively quick and inexpensive. Consequently, in those states, trusts may only be needed for people with larger estates.

There are other probate avoidance strategies that can be used, but they have their drawbacks. For example, retitling an asset as joint property with a child, which is a common tactic, can make the asset vulnerable to the child’s creditors.

An estate planning attorney can advise you on creating an estate plan that fits your unique circumstances, achieves your strategic goals and conforms to your state laws.

Reference: New York Times (April 21, 2017) “Wills Can Avert Family Warfare, but Have Their Own Hidden Traps.”

For more information on asset preservation and estate planning, please visit my estate planning website.

Mr. Amoruso concentrates his practice on Elder Law, Comprehensive Estate Planning, Asset Preservation, Estate Administration and Guardianship.