Many of us enjoy DIY (Do It Yourself) projects. Your ambitions could range anywhere from minor painting to remodeling the bathroom. Why not tackle the whole house? Most of us have the skill to do some minor repairs. But how many have plumbing, electrical, or dry wall talents?
Minor cosmetic home repairs won’t get you in too much trouble. Leave those load-bearing walls alone! But… running electrical circuits or plumbing to a new room takes on some serious risks. Botched wiring means short circuits and fires… shocking! You’ll be crying a river when your amateur plumbing imitates Niagara Falls. Running a gas line to a stove or dryer? What could go wrong? Ka-boom!
What, Me Worry?
Usually when we do our own home repairs, we understand the risks that we are taking on. But what about drafting your own Will or Power of Attorney documents? What is the harm? Many folks think: “I can just download some forms, fill in the blanks and I am all set! So easy!” Right? It’s like using extension cords to wire your house. Scotch tape to seal plumbing joints! Why would you risk your life savings on “free” online forms?
Danger, Danger, High Voltage!
When home remodeling, beware bare wires, leaking pipes, asbestos, and creepy crawly’s. When remodeling your Estate Plan, here are some of your risks with DIY online forms:
1. Healthcare Power of Attorney. What powers should be in these documents? Do you know that if they are not drafted properly, you could be in Probate Court to have a Guardianship setup? This causes more stress, delays and (no big surprise) surprisingly large expenses. Did you forget the Advance Directive? HIPPA? Funeral designee?
2. Financial Power of Attorney. An appropriate Financial Power of Attorney document can preserve your assets… keep you from going broke. Proper advance planning minimizes risks. But what if your bargain basement POA lacks “extraordinary” powers? It may cost you very little or it could be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Why would you risk botching such an important document?
3. Trusts. When was the last time you drafted a Trust? How did that work out? What provisions are prudent for your specific facts? Should it be revocable or irrevocable, or one of each? What powers should the trustees have? These are a few of the questions to ask. Do you know how to fund a Trust, or even what this means? Do you think it could be expensive to have the wrong Trust setup that is not funded? Maybe “FREE” is the costliest of all…
Safe And Secure
Your LifePlan attorney has already helped hundreds of families like yours. You worked your whole life to save for the Golden Years. Now you are going to bet your life savings on generic, freebie forms. Thinking that you can save some money? You may never recover from that mistake if you don’t know what you are doing.
Written by Attorney Jim Henke