This is the latest in a series of blog posts about doing your own estate plan.
Before we get into the specific details, please note the following:
As mentioned in our prior blog post, there are pros and cons with doing a will yourself. In the same way, you can name your beneficiaries on your own, but you need to realize that there are potential problems with this.
First, to reiterate from our last post: there are certain types of property that can’t be passed on in a will. Here are a few examples from Consumer Reports:
Forbes identified several other potential issues with naming beneficiaries. Here are just a few:
Like we stated at the beginning of this blog post: we’re not taking a position for or against naming your beneficiaries on your own. These are just some of the potential problems that can occur. If you think you need guidance, talk to an attorney.
This is the first in a series of blog posts we’ll be doing on DIY estate planning. The thing to realize about an estate plan is that it isn’t a single document or contract. It’s a series of legal documents that establish what you want done with your property and belongings – including your house, vehicles, money and valuables – after you die.
Before getting into the details, we need to present some very clear conditions right up front.
Getting a will is probably the first thing people think about when it comes to estate planning. A will establishes which individuals or organizations will receive assets that you leave behind.
As pointed out here, hiring an attorney to create a last will and testament can cost as much as $1,200. Of course, the internet has responded; you’ve probably heard about services like LegalZoom and Quicken that allow you to create a will inexpensively. Visit that link for an expanded list of online will makers. These services are all fairly similar: they ask you a series of questions, and their systems adjust the language of the will based on your responses.
Overall, this seems like a sort of cookie-cutter that probably works well for a lot of people. However, several sites reported a real risk in using these services. Nerdwallet shared the story of a man who thought his will was simple enough to set up through an online service. He made a lot of mistakes in the process, which has created a lot of conflict among his heirs and generated a lot of lawyer fees, which will be paid out of the inheritance.
One reason that DIY wills can create problems is that your life situation may change after you signed your will. As SmartAsset points out, “If you have kids, get married or divorced, or come into a large sum of money or valuable asset, you’ll need to adjust your will to account for the change.” Obviously if you are at a stage in life where you don’t expect massive changes like these, then an online service might make sense for you. But people don’t usually expect big life changes.
Some online will makers have adjusted their services to address these problems. LegalZoom gives its users the option to consult with an attorney for an extra fee. And Rocket Lawyer’s subscription model has an option for access to an attorney.
Here are a few other things to take into consideration when doing your own will.
We’ll cover other issues around estate planning in upcoming blog posts.
One common issue that a lot of people run into when trying to determine how much burial insurance they need is projecting the cost. It seems like the price tag for a funeral can vary by tens of thousands of dollars.
There are a range of issues that can impact the cost of a funeral. Here are just a few of them:
These are just a few of the factors that can impact the amount you pay for a funeral. But with the right level of final expense insurance coverage, your next of kin can have enough money on hand to lay you to rest without worrying about how to afford it.
Some folks looking for funeral insurance (sometimes referred to as burial insurance) discover final expense insurance, and want to know what the difference is between all these terms. Here’s a quick explanation.
Because people were looking for an inexpensive way to pay for their own funerals, the insurance business responded with final expense insurance. It’s a small, inexpensive life insurance policy with a low monthly premium. When you pass away, we’ll provide a cash payout to your next of kin that can be used for your funeral or anything else your loved ones want to spend it on.
In other words, all the labels in the title – “burial insurance,” “funeral insurance” and “final expense insurance” – are fundamentally identical. Final expense insurance is an industry term, but it’s insurance to be used for your funeral or burial in the event of your passing.