Last week we looked at several reasons why do-it-yourself estate planning in Rochester is a serious potential mistake. Estate planning is such a complicated field, requiring the careful consideration of so many factors, that the vast majority of people are unsuited to create plans without help. While you can take the time to research the relevant estate planning issues, discuss the questions you have to face, and determine what goals you want to set for yourself, you should always make a plan with the advice and guidance of an experienced Rochester estate planning attorney. Here are several more reasons why this is true.
Do-it-Yourself Estate Planning Mistake 4. Forgetting about multiple state probate.
Every state has its own collection of probate laws, generally referred to as the probate code. Though these laws are largely similar, the details can be significantly different. Different states, for example, have different types of probate, different probate courts, and impose different timelines and procedures for any estate going through the probate process.
This is a very important fact to remember if you own property in more than one state. For example, if you own real estate in New York and Florida, you will have to go through two separate probate cases in order to successfully transfer the property from your estate to a new owner. These second probate cases are often known as ancillary probate. Just like any other probate case, the ancillary probate case will involve different rules, procedures, timelines, and will require a separate attorney.
Do-it-Yourself Estate Planning Mistake 5. Forgetting to fund your revocable living trust.
If you are creating a revocable living trust as a part of an estate plan, the creation of the trust itself is only the first step. Always remember that the funding process is just as important.
When you fund the trust, you take the property you own in your name and transfer it into the trust’s name. If you forget some property, or fail to transfer the property properly, the trust will not become the new owner. In other words, you effectively leave the property out of the trust’s name and forgo any potential benefits you might receive should the trust own that asset.
Do-it-Yourself Estate Planning Mistake 6. Forgetting to get advice and review.
Even people who use do-it-yourself estate planning tools need to take the tools they create to an experienced attorney for review. Not only that, but you need a lawyer to help you review and update your estate plan as time goes by. Estate planning laws, tax rules, and court cases are changing constantly, making the regular review and update of your plan essential if you want to get the most from it.
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