Is DIY Estate Planning a Good Idea? 10 Tips to Get Started
More than half of Americans don’t have wills. In fact, many people don’t think they need a will. Some of them think that they are too young, and others think that they don’t have enough physical things to make a will.
Are you wondering if DIY estate planning might be a good way to go? You figure you can save money and get your will done as well, but will that work?
Some people do well with creating an estate plan for themselves, but that isn’t always the case. We are going to give you some tips on how to do estate planning and let you decide if it’s for you or if you want to hire a pro.
Continue reading this article for important tips on how to create an estate.
- Create a Will
If you don’t already have a will, you’ll need to create one. A will allows you to do things like name an executor, name guardians for your children, forgive debts, distribute your property, and more.
If you don’t have a will, then the state’s laws are going to say who gets your property once you’re gone. If members of your family don’t agree with the law, it could cause problems with the family.
- Use a Living Trust
If you want to do one better than creating a will when you’re creating an estate, then also use a living trust. When you use a living trust, your family doesn’t have to go through probate and other unnecessary annoyances.
With probate, your property might be tied up in court for months after your passing. Having a trust will make sure your family doesn’t have to go through any more grief than they need to have after you’re gone.
- Give Directions Regarding Your Health
If there is a point in your life that you aren’t able to make important decisions for your health, having a living will and a power of attorney for health care will make sure what you want to be done will be done.
Some states combine these documents, and they are known as advance health care directives when you create an estate.
- Consider Life Insurance
If you have children that are still underage or if you’re in a lot of debt, you might want to consider life insurance. Life insurance will pay out the amount that you have your policy for in the event of your death.
Without life insurance, it may be very difficult for your family to take care of the bills you leave behind.
- File Beneficiary Forms
Without a beneficiary form, your bank accounts and retirement accounts aren’t touchable. On the other hand, when you have these forms, they are able to be paid out immediately.
Many states also allow you to register your other accounts like stocks and bonds, so your beneficiaries are able to get access to everything they need.
- Know How Much Estate Tax You’ll Pay
If you’re worried about paying estate taxes, you should know that most people are safe from estate taxes. Unless your estate is worth more than $5.49 million, your estate isn’t going to be taxed as of 2017.
As inflation increases, so does the allowed amount of the estate.
Keep in mind that there are some other laws around spouses and charities that you might want to speak with The Hive Law or other attorneys about.
- Make Final Arrangements
If you have specific wishes about your final arrangements, it’s a good idea to state them in a legal document. You should put details in the document about your burial or cremation, as well as your wishes for organ donation.
When you make the final arrangements and pay for them in advance, that makes it easier for your family and ensures you get what you want.
- Have a Plan for Your Business
If you are the sole owner of your business, you need to have someone in line to take it over. If you don’t own the business outright, then you should speak to your business partners about an agreeable payout upon your death.
Many times, your beneficiaries would rather take a payout with a business if they don’t know how to run it. Finding someone that can keep the business running is important, so that isn’t always a family member if they aren’t fully trained.
- Create a Financial Power of Attorney
In case you’re not able to take care of yourself, you can create a financial power of attorney and allow someone you trust to manage your finances for you.
This person you entrust with your finances in case of your inability to function is known as your agent or your attorney-in-fact. Keep in mind that you don’t have to use an attorney for this position.
- Store Documents Safely
Keeping these documents safe is key. Make sure they are well organized, so it is easy for your loved ones to find the documents, but make sure they are secure, so no one can steal them.
Consider putting them in a safety deposit box or in a fireproof safe.
DIY Estate Planning — Yea or Nay?
Now you have some more information on how to do DIY estate planning. With all of the tips above, you have a good idea for what you need to do. Now you have to decide whether you trust your abilities and if you want to tackle everything listed above and even more.
Many people opt to have a professional take care of the situation, but others find it simple and take care of it in a matter of days. You need what is best for you and your family.
Do you need more help with estate planning and other important topics? Keep reading our blog to get the help you need.