Is Your Estate Plan Valid?

Aug 16, 2010

Even though you have your estate plan in place, it could still face legal problems if any part is deemed invalid. What you thought was a perfectly sound estate plan could turn into a probate nightmare for your family. So, how you do make sure your estate plan will work?

Hire an Estate Attorney

Unless you are up-to-date on inheritance, tax and other laws that govern estate preparation, you will have to become an expert overnight to create your own plan. Writing a Last Will and Testament yourself or even purchasing a cookie cutter Will from a website can cause inheritance problems. Such Wills may not take into account every circumstance of your estate and loved ones such as step-children or a live-in partner may be mistakenly disinherited.

Saving money is great as long as it doesn’t cost more money in the end. If you are considering creating an estate plan without the assistance of an attorney, you may create costly probate issues for your family instead. An estate attorney knows the laws and can make sure your estate plan is legally sound.

Properly Signed Documents

If any estate document is not handled correctly a court of law may deem it invalid. This is why you must take care when you sign and date your documents. Your estate attorney can help with this since he or she will know state laws regarding signing, dating and notarizing.

Regular Maintenance

If you do not keep your estate plan well-maintained, your documents and assets may face probate issues. Maintaining your estate plan simply means checking every couple years or less to see if changes need to be made. Changes in your estate may be due if estate laws have changed, you have purchased or sold property, you have new heirs, heirs have passed away, or you have married or divorced.

If you do not maintain your estate plan and you pass away with property, assets or heirs not included in your Last Will and Testament or Revocable Living Trust, your estate could face a protracted probate. And don’t forget, when you create a new Will be sure to get rid of old copies to avoid confusion.

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