Danger, Will Robinson: DYI Estate Planning Ahead

Danger will robinsonAre you a tax law expert?

Tax law is one of the most complicated legal fields in the discipline. It really should be left to the professionals, especially when it involves significant amounts of your money.  That’s why it’s very important to take the time and spend the money to receive experienced and skillful legal advice before you attempt to do estate and tax planning on your own.

Here are just some of the major issues that people experience when they try to do this type of thing on their own.

Those with simple estates don’t need a great deal of estate planning, but they still need some. This may include a will, advance medical directives and a power of attorney. People try to create these documents on their own, searching online for a free template or a paid program. Many people who elect to go online to save money, wind up spending more than they anticipated, or they end up with a defective estate plan that only creates more issues for their family, once they’ve passed away. The website's Last Will and Testament might work out just perfectly for some, but others risk much more than they save.

A common issue is trying to determine if a simple estate plan will be enough for a person’s specific situation. Your situation can be complicated if your spouse has already passed, if you have children, if you own real estate or if you’ve been divorced and remarried. If any of these apply, the best bet is to sit down with an experienced estate planning attorney. The free web solution just won’t cut it.

You may be in need of a trust. That’s a sophisticated task that definitely requires legal expertise because a simple mistake can make the trust null and void. A qualified local estate planning attorney will understand the details of the law and your situation. He or she will guide you into making the right choices for you and your loved ones. If your do-it-yourself estate plan has an error or flaw, the legacy you wanted to leave to your family may be challenged in court.

If you do have an estate worth millions of dollars, with your do-it-yourself estate plan, you risk losing a lot of money because of unnecessary taxation or simple mistakes. An established estate planning lawyer who practices in this area of law will know the tax laws and will suggest strategies that will save as much as possible. How much risk do you want to take?

Reference: Axcess News (August 2017) “The Very Real Dangers of Doing Your Own Estate Planning”


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We've been putting together as many resources as possible so that we can continue to help:

  • If you’re a current client with a signing appointment or a prospective client with a consultation and would prefer that meeting take place in your own home, we can accomplish that with a little bit of pre-planning on our part and with the addition of a laptop, smartphone, tablet or other computer in your home to facilitate this virtual meeting. For those of you that need to sign legal documents, that too can be accomplished with the use of a webcam (FaceTime etc.), so that we can witness and electronically notarize all of your important legal documents.
  • We launched the rollout of our on-demand webinar early so that new clients and our allied professionals can view the important component parts of ‘an estate plan that works’ at their convenience.  That is available on our website.
  • Live video workshops will be produced as quickly as possible and certainly ahead of our previous schedule; we will keep you posted as these events become available. Given the ‘boutique’ nature of the firm, we rarely have more than ten people in our office including team members at any one time. During this period of ‘social distancing,’ we promise to have no more than 8 people at any time.   This allows us to comply with the Governor’s directive to limit in-person gatherings.
  • The best way to communicate with us is still by phone during regular office hours of 8:30 to 5:00, Monday through Friday, or, you can email any of our team members (that is, their first name followed by @zarembalaw.com).  We will respond to these emails as quickly as possible.
  • Please continue to follow the directives of our local, state, and federal agencies. For your health and in consideration of our team who is assisting you, if you’ve scheduled an office appointment or planned to drop off paperwork and are experiencing a fever, dry cough, or shortness of breath, please contact your primary care doctor for guidance and then our office to reschedule.

Thank you, Walt and the Zaremba Team

Update to our Process

The unprecedented coronavirus pandemic has taken our entire country by surprise. We understand how difficult this time is for America’s businesses and families.  However, we believe it is vitally important that we make every effort possible to continue to offer solutions that avoid disrupting our important partnership with you, your family and friends.  As you know, estate planning is not something that should wait for a more convenient time, therefore the opportunity to address your important goals both during and after this crisis should not wait.  To that end, we have added the option of a ‘virtual consultation’ to our office process.  You will now have a choice of either meeting with us in our office or in the comfort of your own home.