Would it surprise you to know that only just over one-third of American adults have any kind of estate plan? If you have not created a plan of your own, you probably have well-meaning friends and family members telling you to get one in place, especially if you have children or assets you plan to pass down.
These helpful individuals may have even told you about downloadable forms you can use, but they may not understand the dangers of this type of estate planning. Therefore, consider the disadvantages of using these forms.
State laws differ
Every state has specific laws about the creation, handling and validation of estate planning documents. In fact, in most cases, you need documents that are specific to your state only. In many cases, the generic downloadable documents do not have the details and considerations many states require.
Both state and federal laws and regulations change every year. However, even if attorneys created the downloadable state documents you use, they may have done so years or decades prior to your use of them. In many cases, these documents have outdated language or they do not meet current legal requirements. This can render these documents worthless or open for legal interpretation, which could result in litigation amongst your heirs.
Your estate documents should work together to create an overall plan. They need to interact with each other as well. Although some services allow you to ask questions, they cannot review all your documents to ensure that they work together properly. Any discrepancies can cause significant legal vulnerabilities.
These are only three of the disadvantages of using downloadable estate documents. Do your due diligence before you create your estate plan.