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With a complex estate, DIY planning may not be the way to go

Estate planning can offer West Virginia residents numerous benefits. Not only can these plans help address the distribution of your assets after death, but you can also use your plan to address needs you may have while still alive. Because the decisions you make with these plans can have considerable impacts on your life and the lives of your surviving loved ones, you may want to ensure that you take the best approach in creating your estate plan.

For some, the idea of creating an estate plan on one's own may seem appealing. It could potentially help individuals save money while also letting others know their desires. However, if your estate meets certain criteria, taking the DIY approach may not work in your best interests.

Complex needs

If your estate has considerable complexities attached to it -- such as numerous, valuable or unusual assets -- simply creating a plan yourself may not allow you to address the needs of the estate fully. Typically, DIY planning tools only provide basic information for the creation of simple plans.

Additionally, your complexities may go beyond your assets. You may also have specific family situations that may require more thorough planning than a basic plan may cover effectively.

Missing opportunities

Because these tools often only cater to general needs, you may also miss out on planning options that could potentially help your estate. Certain tools could allow you to lessen the taxation on your estate or on the transfer of particular assets, but without knowing about these options, you may miss the opportunity to safeguard your estate for your surviving family. In addition, without the opportunity to explain your specific circumstances, you may not receive planning advice catered to your true needs.

Holes in the plan

With DIY estate planning, you may also put your estate more open to the chance of litigation. Without the proper terminology and phrasing, parts of your plan may leave room for interpretation. As a result, one family member may view your terms one way while another sees them differently.

Furthermore, if you create more than one DIY will, loved ones could potentially contest the validity of the documents, and without an outside party -- such as an attorney -- to offer insight on how and when the documents were created, addressing the issue could take time.

Alternatives to DIY

Luckily, you do not have to work on creating an estate plan alone. A variety of planning options, tools and assistance exist that could help you create the plan that best suits your needs and desires.

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