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The risks of DIY estate planning

There is nothing wrong with wanting to save a little money where you can. Being responsible with your finances can lead to many positive rewards. However, it remains important to know when it makes sense to save and when it makes sense to spend. Failing to spend a bit of money where you need to can lead to disastrous consequences.

For example, it is often important to seek professional assistance when certain situations arise. Professional assistance may cost you a bit of money upfront, but it can save you money down the road and can help to prevent a host of negative scenarios. The services of doctors, dentists, counselors, tax preparers, child care providers and other professionals may cost money but they also tend to be invaluable in non-monetary ways.

Similarly, it is important to spend money on the services of qualified attorneys when certain situations arise. If you are harmed due to another's negligence, you may need to consult a personal injury attorney. If you are arrested, you may need to consult a criminal defense attorney. And if you are ready to craft or revise an estate plan, it may be significantly beneficial to consult an attorney with experience in estate planning.

If you craft or revise an estate plan yourself, you run numerous risks that could be avoided if an attorney provided you with assistance. Because you are not trained in this area of law, your efforts may prove to be unenforceable in a court of law. This could be troublesome for your loved ones and could cost them valuable time, money and other resources when they attempt to have your wishes enforced. While it may save a bit of money upfront to craft or revise your estate plan yourself, this move may prove costly in the end.

Source: New Hampshire Union Leader, "Money Sense: Do-it-yourself estate planning has potential pitfalls," Marc A. Hebert, March 7, 2015

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