If you live in Missouri and you have not created an estate plan, you might be wondering whether you can simply prepare one yourself. While it may seem like this would save you money, there are some drawbacks to a DIY approach.
Planning for your family
Some people think of an estate plan as being the same thing as a will, but a will is just one element of a comprehensive plan.. One of the dangers of DIY planning is that you might overlook how the different parts of your estate plan work together. For example, a common estate planning error is failing to consider the role of beneficiary designations. These are documents you fill out when you start a retirement plan or purchase a life insurance policy, and it can be easy to forget about them. However, if your beneficiary designation contradicts your will or trust, it overrides them. Working with a professional may help you take a look at all the different aspects of your estate plan and how they work together.
Planning for yourself
Part of an estate plan is about what happens to your assets, but another important part is planning for the possibility that you may become incapacitated. You might want to prepare a document that expresses what kind of medical care you want as well as powers of attorney that appoint people to take care of your health care and financial decision-making if you are unable to do so.
Working with an attorney may also help you determine whether you might be better served by a trust as your main estate planning document instead of a will. For example, if you want to make sure that your beneficiaries only receive their inheritance when they reach a certain age, a trust could be the right vehicle.