Smart Ways to Save When Creating Your Estate Plan

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Everyone likes to save money. One of the increasingly popular ways to save is by surfing the Web for deals and inexpensive do-it-yourself project ideas.

Bypassing an attorney to purchase an estate planning document from the Internet, however, isn't one of the smart ways to save a buck. In fact, it may cost you much more.

Example: Family Plans Gone Wrong
Alice and Ben have two young children. They realize the importance of creating an estate plan. To save some money, however, they purchase estate planning software and create their wills themselves. They properly named a guardian for their minor children in the documents, signed the wills and placed them in a safe-deposit box. Unfortunately, they did not execute the documents correctly.

Ten years later, Alice and Ben were tragically killed in an automobile accident. Their do-it-yourself wills were filed with the probate court, but the court invalidated both wills because they were improperly executed. Their estates were probated as if they died without wills.

After a lengthy and expensive court battle between family and friends, the court determined that it was in the best interest of the children to appoint a different guardian than the one named in the DIY will. In addition, the minor children ended up with significantly less money because of the expensive litigation than they would have had Alice and Ben consulted with an estate planning attorney.

Cut Down on Legal Costs With Timesaving Tricks
If you would like to save money when creating or updating your estate plan, instead of looking to DIY documents, consider these three timesaving strategies you can implement to cut down on legal costs:
  1. Become an educated consumer. Read books, review articles or browse the Internet to become educated on the topic of estate planning prior to making an appointment with an estate planning attorney. If you do so, the estate planning attorney will not have to spend time explaining the estate planning basics. This is especially true if your attorney charges by the hour. Every minute you save is less money out of your pocket.
  2. Think and discuss. You should take time to think about how you would like your assets distributed when you pass away. Then discuss your wishes with close family and friends.
  3. Complete an estate planning questionnaire. This document, which you can request from your attorney, requires you to think about and fill in certain information about your family and assets. You can fill it out on your time, not billable time.

Read how to prepare to meet with your attorney for the first time.

Every person is unique, and so is every estate. Consult an estate planning attorney today to begin the process of creating or updating your estate plan—your family will thank you.

If you would like to remember Gustavus Adolphus College in your estate plans, please contact Jackie Peterson at 507-933-7543 or to learn about your options.