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Modern Estate Planning Blog

Elder Law & Special Needs Planning

Your Current Estate Plan: Trick or Treat?

October 18, 2011

Online estate plans and document “kits” are all the rage these days. They typically appeal to people who are looking to save money and at least get something in writing should they pass away.

I’ve actually worked with quite a few of such people in my own practice, namely when their DIY plan backfires and fails to protect their loved ones in a true emergency.

It’s no secret that budget estate plans notoriously fall apart and set well-meaning people up for a nasty TRICK, instead of a treat, when the unthinkable happens. And the worst part is that it often costs families far more to fix these mistakes than it would have to work with an attorney in the first place.

Remember, the purpose of an estate plan is to make sure that there are no surprises, oversights or loopholes waiting for your loved ones if you should pass away or become incapacitated for any reason.

A generic estate planning kit may help you decide who should get what if you die, but will it shield your assets from nursing homes or the state if you ever become disabled and need long-term care? Will it guarantee that your kids will be raised by the people you want, in a way you want, if the unthinkable happens? Will it ensure that your hard-earned money is immediately available for your loved ones rather than being tied up for months or even YEARS in the probate court?

In the majority of cases, the answer to these questions is NO, causing much pain, sorrow and chaos for families in the midst of a crisis situation.

Don’t let your family find an unexpected TRICK in your estate plan if tragedy strikes. At the very least, have your DIY plan reviewed by a Sacramento County will and trust attorney so you know exactly what it does and does not cover should you pass away or become incapacitated during your lifetime. The financial and physical security of your family depends on it.

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I was absolutely without a clue as to how to begin or what I should do to establish an estate plan. I did know that I wanted someone I could trust, that was honest and I would have confidence in. I was referred to Heather by my friend who was being legally advised by Heather on another estate. She was very satisfied with her work and thought I might be happy with her service. At our consultation appointment, her presentation was very thorough. I had lots of questions, and she was easy to talk to and was able to guide me to just the kind of estate plan I needed. That was 10 years ago. Due to circumstances in my life, I have had to make changes to my plan, and I always go back to her for her legal services and guidance. I have recommended Heather before.

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