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Have you done yourself in with do-it-yourself estate planning?

Many New Jersey residents consider having an estate plan an important aspect of their lives. Having end-of-life documents in place could help alleviate some of the burden that surviving family members may face in the wake of your death. However, if you did not create those documents correctly or they do not cover certain aspects of your estate, complications could arise.

One way in which your estate plan may not turn out as foolproof as you had hoped relates to creating your plans yourself. Though the idea of saving money by simply using an online tool or other means to create your will may have seemed appealing, DIY estate planning does not always provide the most comprehensive options.

Missing information

In the majority of cases, DIY planning options typically only give the most basic information. Therefore, you may have the ability to create a basic will, but without more information, you could miss out other planning tools that could have benefitted you and your family. Additionally, you may not think of extra safeguards to put in place -- such as naming a backup executor -- and when it comes time for your estate to go through probate, these missing precautions could cause issues.

Complex assets

If you have substantially valuable property, numerous assets or otherwise complex assets, basic estate planning may not work in your best interests. Though you could use a simple will to bequeath your assets, you may miss out on planning tools that could help preserve your wealth for future generations. You may also forget to consider tax implications of your decisions, and while you believe that your gift to a loved one may seem generous, he or she could end up dealing with taxation that diminishes the value of the inheritance.

Complex family situations

DIY methods could also lack protection you hope to provide for your children in the event that you remarry. For instance, if you divorce or lose your spouse, you may want to ensure that your children's inheritances do not get negatively affected by your remarriage or bringing stepchildren into the family. You could address these concerns in your estate plans, but you may not receive the most useful information on how to do so by using a DIY option.

Gaining the right information

If your goal for estate planning is to provide help and instruction for your family, you will certainly want to ensure that your plans cover the needs of your estate. By utilizing local legal resources, you may have a greater chance of understanding your estate planning options and what specific tools may allow you to create a more comprehensive plan.

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