Skip to main content

Estate Planning 101

By Debra Schuster

With AI and infinite internet resources available, many people choose to DIY with their estate planning. I suggest you think again before going it alone.

Just as no one would assume that with some internet research, they can perform their own surgery, no one should create their own estate plan documents.  Yes, it undoubtedly can save money that would otherwise be spent on meeting with a lawyer to discuss preparing your estate plan, but the downside is that you don’t know what you don’t know.

A few years ago, I wrote a post on the ten most common estate planning myths; that advice bears repeating.

Estate Planning Myths
  1. A will keeps all of my assets out of probate.
  2. As a parent, I will always have the authority to make decisions for my children, no matter how old they are. 
  3. My spouse automatically has the right to make health care and financial decisions for me and me for them.
  4. If I never get around to preparing estate plan documents it doesn’t matter because I won’t know the difference, and my family and the court can always handle it.
  5. Once I have a trust prepared, I can rest assured that I have done my job to ensure my assets go to whom I named in my trust.
  6. A trustee does not have to give trust beneficiaries any information. That is the job of the lawyer.
  7. My trustee, or if I don’t have a trust, my personal representative named under my will, makes all decisions regarding how my personal property is distributed. 
  8. If I have a durable power of attorney that names people I want to make decisions for me, they are legally required to do what I want. 
  9. If I die without a will and am married with children, my spouse will still inherit everything from me.
  10. If I have children, I should appoint the eldest child first to make all health care and financial decisions for me because that is the way it should be done.

There are serious consequences to DIY estate planning. To understand your options and avoid unintended results from pre-printed estate plan forms, consult with an estate planning attorney at Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal who will explain all of your options and the consequences of your choices.


I need a consultation