The availability of information and software on the internet has led many people to attempt do-it-yourself (DIY) solutions even with potentially complex matters such as making an estate plan.
Though this might save some time and money in the short term, it can also lead to significant challenges with probate and estate administration.
A proper estate plan often involves many details
Many people might consider creating a DIY will, especially if they have very simple wishes. However, estate planning nowadays is rarely simple.
Individuals should cover several details during the estate planning process, including:
- Who will receive what assets?
- Who is in charge of administering the estate?
- Who should speak as a representative of the individual, if the individual becomes incapacitated?
- What powers or authority should those in charge of an estate have?
Unfortunately, if individuals do not correctly address these details, then the estate administration might not go as planned. And according to Forbes, it is common for DIY wills to exclude essential details or documents from their programs.
The biggest challenge? Estate administration
Whoever creates a DIY will might save themselves some time and money. However, creating the will is not usually the issue.
The main problem that families run into with DIY wills often occurs in the estate administration. There could be several issues, including:
- The DIY will might not be valid under California law
- In the absence of a valid will, the probate court could appoint someone the decedent would not want to handle their affairs.
- Or, the DIY will might not have the proper protections in place to help the family navigate the probate process effectively
So, a DIY will might work for the individual who creates the will. But that individual’s loved ones might run into complex and often costly issues after they are gone.
In short, there are significant risks involved in creating a DIY will because of potential unintended consequences. It can make probate and estate administration much more difficult.