While some Missouri residents might consider writing their own estate plan documents to save the fuss and cost of working with a lawyer, there are some cautions that should be considered. There are many approaches in a day and age that provides easy access to programs, forms, and other tools needed for creating one’s own will. However, these tools can fall short of what is needed because of their general nature.
A general estate planning tool may lack the specificity needed for a given state, making it important to read through any fine print or instructions related to one’s own state. Furthermore, estate tax laws could affect the value of an inheritance depending on the state or the method used to create one’s estate plan. Software and other tools for writing one’s own will often bypass issues that would be of concern with a complex estate.
Even in a simple will for a modest estate, errors in execution could invalidate the documents and result in an extended probate period or the potential for challenges from heirs. It is important to have some type of estate plan to ensure that issues such as guardianship for minor children are handled, but an inadequate understanding of the requirements for making these designations could leave one’s wishes unmet as courts decide the matters instead.
An estate planning lawyer can be a help in addressing a variety of end-of-life concerns, including matters like guardianship, inheritance of a family home, or provision of a greater share of the estate to a child who has serious financial needs. Correct execution of a last will and testament is important for ensuring that it will be recognized and honored.