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The risks of do-it-yourself estate planning

Many people in Ohio take a great deal of pride in accomplishing a wide range of tasks of their own. It is possible to save significant amounts on home repairs, car maintenance and many other common needs for those who are willing to roll up their sleeves and put in the time and effort needed to do those tasks themselves. There are some areas, however, in which attempting to handle one's own needs can backfire, including estate planning.

There is nothing illegal about completing one's own estate planning paperwork; individuals can work through the process on their own and store the resulting documents until they are needed. That said, unless an individual has a comprehensive understanding of estate planning tools and the laws within their state of residence, there are a number of complications that can occur. Should this job be botched, the outcome could be far worse than a leaky water heater or faulty thermostat installation.

One of the most common problems that people encounter with do-it-yourself estate planning involves the creation of documents that are not properly executed. Unless the paperwork is properly written and signed, the contents can be rendered void. Having a poorly drafted will can also open a family up to legal contests of those plans, which can be stressful and difficult.

For those in Ohio who are concerned about the cost of having a professional complete their estate planning package, it is important to understand that this process is not necessarily costly. A simple will and accompanying incapacitation documents can be drafted in a short period of time and with minimal expense. For many, the peace of mind that comes with having these tools in place is well worth the cost of having a trusted advisor guide the process.

Source:, "Sponsor spotlight: Retirement and estate planning from Matt Cruz", July 28, 2015

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