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Our attorneys are specifically trained to help you keep more money in your business and personal accounts, watch out for pitfalls, handle sticky situations (ideally before they even get sticky) and effectively tend to the parts of your business that are especially challenging.
At the same time, we work as your trusted advisor who helps you make the very best personal, financial, legal, and business decisions for your family throughout your lifetime.
You always said you wanted someone who could do all “that” stuff - the tasks that you’d rather not handle.
That's precisely where we step in - protecting your business and your family!
Notes from Our Chief Counsel's Desk
You’re probably anxious to check estate planning off your life’s to-do list, and these forms offer a seemingly quick and inexpensive way to handle this important task.
Last week, we shared the first part of this series discussing the hidden dangers of do-it-yourself estate planning. In part two, we cover one of the greatest risks posed by DIY documents.
You may even realize such generic plans aren’t as high quality as those drafted with an attorney’s help, but with your hectic schedule, a DIY will is just way more convenient. Besides, having “something” in place is better than having nothing, right? Unfortunately, this is one case in which SOMETHING is not better than nothing.
Indeed, the false sense of security offered by DIY wills can lead you to believe you have things covered and no longer have to worry about estate planning. The reality, however, is that such generic forms could end up costing the loved ones you leave behind more money and heartache than if you’d never gotten around to doing anything at all.
In this way, DIY wills and other legal documents are among the most dangerous choices you can make for the people you love. In part one, we discussed the many ways DIY plans can fail to keep your family out of court and out of conflict, and here we’ll explain how these generic documents can leave the people you love most of all—your children—at risk.
The people you love most
It’s probably distressing to think that by using a DIY will you could force your loved ones into court or conflict in the event of your incapacity or death. And if you’re like most parents, it’s probably downright unimaginable to contemplate your children’s care falling into the wrong hands.
Yet that’s exactly what could happen if you rely on free or low-cost fill-in-the-blank wills found online, or even if you hire a lawyer who isn’t equipped or trained to plan for the needs of parents with minor children.
Naming and legally documenting guardians entails a number of complexities that most people aren’t aware of. Even lawyers with decades of experience frequently make at least one of six common errors when naming long-term legal guardians.
If wills drafted with the help of a professional are likely to leave your children at risk, the chances that you’ll get things right on your own are pretty much zero.
What could go wrong?
If your DIY will names legal guardians for your kids in the event of your death, that’s great. But does it include back-ups? And if you named a couple to serve, how is that handled? Do you still want one of them if the other is unavailable due to illness, injury, death, or divorce?
And what happens if you become incapacitated and are unable to care for your children? You might assume the guardians named in the DIY will would automatically get custody, but your will isn’t even operative in the event of your incapacity. Or perhaps the guardians you named in the will live far from your home, so it would take them a few days to get there. If you haven’t made legally-binding arrangements for the immediate care of your children, it’s highly likely that they will be placed with child protective services until those guardians arrive.
Even if you name family who live nearby as guardians, your kids are still at risk because it’s possible they might not be immediately available if and when needed. And who even knows where your will is or how to access it?
There are simply far too many potential errors you can make when you go it alone.
The Kids Protection Plan®
To ensure your children are never raised by someone you don’t trust or taken into the custody of strangers (even temporarily), consider creating a comprehensive Kids Protection Plan®, which only Family Startup Lawyers™ like us are trained and licensed to counsel you through and prepare.
If you have minor children at home, you should immediately use this resource to get started, and then schedule a follow-up visit with us to put the full Kids Protection Plan® in place.