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Barney McKenna & Olmstead, P.C.
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435-628-1711 Southern Utah
702-346-3100 Mesquite

Can I Prepare My Estate Plan Myself?

Ron Hill

This is a question some people ask their attorney and many are afraid to ask.  The short answer is – yes.  Most people create an estate plan with wills or trusts to ensure their estate is distributed as they direct and so there is no confusion, family strife and as little cost to their estate as possible.  However, if your estate plan is not done correctly it can make these issues much more complicated and much more costly to your estate.   In 30 years of practice in estate planning I have never drafted an estate plan that is identical to another of my clients.  The truth is your needs, wishes, family and estate are very unique.  Using forms that are generalized make it difficult to organize your estate plan as your situation requires.  Your estate plan should be unique to you not someone else who’s background, estate, concerns, preferences and family are different than yours.  You may have a disabled relative you would like to provide for but not disentitle them from government programs.  You may have a beneficiary you would like to provide for but the distribution of their share needs to be supervised or paid over time by another person you trust so that the beneficiary truly benefits from your estate as you would like.  You may have the ability to provide an ongoing bequest for the education of your family that needs to be correctly organized and then supervised and carried out by someone else you trust.    Confusion or ambiguity in drafting your estate plan can result in misunderstanding at best or conflict and litigation at worst.  Sitting down with your attorney and obtaining advice that is specific to your situation is the best way to ensure your estate administration proceeds the way you want and is communicated to your family or beneficiaries in a way you want.  After all, most people complete an estate plan once in their lifetime that is usually about the most important things in their life – family, helping others and contributing to the development of people or matters that are most important to them.  If you can’t afford an estate plan now, talk to your attorney about alternative financial arrangements.

Every Third Thursday, Barney McKenna and Olmstead, P.C. holds free, no obligation, educational seminars on Estate Planning at noon, and 5:00 pm in St. George, noon in Mesquite, and at 3:00 pm in Hurricane. Although there is no charge, a prior reservation is required. Call us at 435-628-1711 to reserve your seat.

Ron Hill is a local attorney who has practiced law both in Canada and the United States.  His 30 years of practice include a focus on Estate Planning. He is licensed and serves clients in Utah at the law firm of Barney McKenna and Olmstead.  If you have questions you would like addressed in these articles you can contact him at 435-628-1711 or or visit the firm’s website at WWW.BMOLAWFIRM.COM