by Jennifer Tomac
There is a post going around social media sharing tips to make sure your affairs are in order. This post has gone viral over the last few weeks with many "DIY" tips to protect yourself and your family. We love that it has started a real conversation about the fact that we all need to think about planning for the next stages of life – and death. However, we’ve found that sometimes well-meaning people can share advice that is incomplete, or worse yet, completely wrong. The information being shared in the post is a good starting point, but the advice being given will not help everyone avoid probate. Additionally, “DIY-ing” these documents (while it may seem like a great idea) can be a mistake because it can create a false sense of security for you and your family. You may think you’ve set everything up correctly, only to have your family discover (too late) that those DIY “solutions” didn’t work.
You’ve heard the expression “you don’t know what you don’t know,” right? The thing about Estate Planning is that “the right way” looks different for each person and family. It is not a one-size-fits-all process. For some people beneficiary designations and a transfer on death deed may be sufficient, but for others these strategies might result in years of fighting, court costs, and heartache.
Additionally, what works South Dakota may not work in California or New York or Ohio or Florida. Every state has a different probate process. So how to, or even whether you want to, avoid probate depends on where you live.
We believe knowledge is power, so over the next several weeks we are going to take a deeper dive into the documents and strategies discussed in the Facebook post. Our hope is that you will take the time to read these posts and increase your knowledge about these important topics:
Joint Ownership/Beneficiary Designations - But, What If?