When you see websites offering do-it-yourself estate planning kits, they tell you that it’s as easy as filling in the blanks. An estate plan is just a bunch of paper. You fill in the fields (that may or may not address all of your interests), stick the papers in a lock box somewhere, and the matter is handled. Why make it harder than it really is?
In reality, there is a lot at stake, each case is different, and there are variables to take into consideration. DIY estate planning shortcuts are rarely, if ever, a good idea.
Very specific instructions must be given to avoid other people contesting your estate plan, potential estate tax exposure must be addressed, and qualified people have to execute and carry out the plan.
First you are going to have to decide which legal instrument or instruments you are going to utilize to arrange for the transfer of assets. There are in fact possibilities other than a generic Last Will. This is going to require the assistance of a qualified San Jose estate planning lawyer.
Once you choose a vehicle of asset transfer, you have to consider the matter of estate administration. This will involve the selection of a trustee or executor, and it is a good idea to arrange for a probate or trust lawyer to assist. This is an important decision because these individuals will be charged with the responsibility of carrying out your wishes as stated in the Will or Trust agreement.
Arranging for the distribution of your assets to your family members is a serious endeavor that is best undertaken with professional guidance. If you would like to get started, the proper first step is to sit down and discuss your situation with a licensed and experienced San Jose estate planning attorney.