Oftentimes individuals and couples attempt to minimize estate planning costs by downloading do-it-yourself wills and property deed templates. DIY estate planning notoriously causes costly, time-demanding administrative burdens on executors and does not guarantee the decedent’s wishes will be carried out.
While an individual might find writing their own deed offers more control, is simple, and bypasses the cost of an attorney, this approach comes with several risks. Relying entirely on titling to determine property transfers is a poor planning method. Reviewing property titles during routine planning sessions helps to identify issues, but managing those issues exclusively with titling measures is inadequate. An estate with DIY deeds might expose property to liens and lawsuits tied to parties on the deed, transfer property with unfavorable tax implications, or allow property interest to be claimed by unintended parties.
If an executor is administering an estate that includes an improperly executed deed written by the decedent, probate court actions will delay settling the estate and increase administration costs. The executor will need to make arrangements for extended management and maintenance for any property affected by the deed(s), as sales of the property will not be possible until resolution of the title issues.
Executors experiencing title problems during estate administration should review options with an attorney. Opportunities may be available that could reduce expenses for the estate and minimize the tax burden on estate beneficiaries. Without professional review, the executor could miss these opportunities. Schedule an estate review with a North Carolina probate attorney. TrustCounsel’s senior attorney Greg Herman-Giddens is a Board Certified Specialist in Estate Planning and Probate Law. Before your meeting, learn more about property issues in probate: