There are some folks that have a tiny bit of knowledge, and this can be dangerous, especially when they want to share it with others. This dynamic can definitely enter the picture when it comes to estate planning tips.
At the end of the day, there is no substitute for qualified legal counsel, but some families pay a heavy price to learn this lesson.
Downloads and Worksheets
Several companies on the internet sell downloads and worksheets that you can use to create different types of legal devices, including last wills and other estate planning documents.
A major study has revealed the fact that DIY estate planning is really not wise, and why would it be?
Most individuals seek financial advice throughout their lives from retirement and financial planners. Yet, for some reason, a lot of the same people feel as though they can make their own estate planning decisions.
You should definitely take pause before you follow the advice of someone that is trying to convince you that estate planning is a very simple matter that anyone can take on without any professional training.
Joint Tenancy With Right of Survivorship
Another action that could seem like a good idea on the surface is the establishment of a joint tenancy. This is simply the process of adding someone else to your property ownership documents as a co-owner.
If you go this route, after one partner passes away, the surviving joint tenant would assume ownership of the entirety of the property. This transfer would not be subject to the legal process of probate, and some content that this makes things easier.
It may on some levels, but there are also risks that go along with joint tenancy.
They largely stem from the fact that the partial transfer of ownership takes place right away. As a result of this, your financial situation is intertwined with the decision-making of your joint tenant.
For example, if there is a legal judgment, a tax lien, or child support lien issued against the person that you gave half of your home to, the property could potentially be attached.
We are just scratching the surface in this post, but we have some great resources that you can utilize to gain more in-depth information about this subject and many others. There is a library of special reports on our site, and you can access any of them free of charge.
One of them is devoted to the subject of joint tenancy with right of survivorship. To see all the titles, visit our report library page and follow the simple instructions to obtain the publication that you are interested in.
Payable on Death Accounts and Verbal Instructions
Another one of these “easy answers” that can go sideways is the payable on death account approach. These are accounts that you can open at banks and brokerages, and they are alternately referred to as Totten trusts.
You name a beneficiary when you have one of these accounts, and after your passing, the beneficiary would inherit the assets that remain in the trust. The probate court would not be involved, and this is why this is supposed to be a good idea.
There are those that fund payable on death accounts and they tell the beneficiary to divide the assets in a certain way. This is well and good, but the beneficiary would not be legally bound to follow the verbal instructions when the time comes.
Schedule a Consultation!
As you can see, there is no substitute for a professionally prepared estate plan. If you are ready to develop your plan the right way, we are here to help.
You can schedule a consultation at our Smithtown, NY estate planning office if you call us at 631-265-0599, and there is also a contact form on this site you can use to send us a message.