Jesse Beier has featured three videos on his bio page which contain the following text.
Video Transcript: Can I just use a do-it-yourself will?
There are hundreds of options at this point online on do-it-yourself estate plans. And they offer simple wills, they offer revocable trust, I’ve even seen some more higher advanced type estate plans. And what I’d say to the DIY estate plan is kind of similar to myself as an attorney taking on advanced home improvement projects. There’s certain things that you just don’t want to mess with. I won’t do electrical work and I won’t do plumbing work because I know it could be a disaster. The same thing applies to your estate plan. What you find online is these one size fits all estate plans where it’s essentially enter the numbers, enter the names and boom, you’ve got an estate plan. It lacks the personalization that you would get if you meet with an attorney and they address your personal and your financial needs and also, discuss lifetime goals. With the personalization you get with meeting an attorney can’t be compared to entering numbers and names into a questionnaire online. And so, just from that personalization aspect I think it’s important that we get away from doing the DIY estate planning.
But another thing that comes up is execution. Each state has its own laws on how wills must be signed. And so any deviation from the legal standard could invalidate the will. Oftentimes I’ll have clients who come in with a prior plan that they put together online and they said okay, well, we’re going to get serious about this and we want to meet with an attorney. I’d say that nine times of ten when I’m reviewing a DIY estate plan, I find an error. It may be harmless, it may just be a spelling issue but oftentimes it’s a fatal flaw to the document. And obviously, this can create serious problems when we’re talking about the administration of your estate.
And so, as an attorney, again, I’m probably biased here but my recommendation would be to completely avoid the DIY estate planning route.
Video Transcript: What is a trust?
A trust is a legal arrangement whereby the grantor, or the individual establishing the trust, sets up a trust in order to hold his or her assets for the benefit of named beneficiaries. There’s a number of different types of trust but the most common type of trust used in my practice is the revocable trust. This is a type of trust that we establish, during lifetime. We transfer or convey our property to the trust so usually we’re talking about real estate or investment accounts. We will have the trust own that property, during our lifetime. A revocable trust is great because of the flexibility involved. The person who establishes the trust will typically act as the trustee. They are able to continue to manage the assets of that trust. They can sell, they can purchase additional assets and put them in the trust.
But there’s a number of really good benefits to having a trust. I mentioned the flexibility, but also by establishing a trust you avoid probate. You put your assets into the trust whether that’s the family home, the cabin, again, your investment accounts. And then, if something happens to you, whether it’s death or incapacity, you’ll have a successor trustee who steps in and continues to manage the assets of the trust.
A couple other benefits to establishing a trust are estate tax avoidance. By using a specific type of trust, and this especially applies to Minnesota residents with the lower tax exemptions, but by setting up a specific type of trust we can limit or entirely avoid estate tax.
And last but not least, revocable trusts are a great incapacity planning tool. If something happens to you and your spouse and you’re unable to make decisions with respect to trust assets, your successor trustee can step in and continue to manage those assets for you.
Video Transcript: What is a Health Care Directive?
A health care directive is another very important tool for dealing with incapacity. Like your power of attorney, you will be naming individuals to make decisions on your behalf if you’re unable to do so for yourself. But this time with the health care directive this relates to health care decisions. Your health care directive is typically made up of the appointment of your health care agents and will also have what’s called a living will. We discussed the appointment health care agents but again, typically you’re going to name your spouse and maybe another family member or children to fill the role of health care agents.
A living will typically provides instructions to your family members or the agents named within your health care directive and your treating providers for what types of health care you want to have used on you if something happens to you and you’re unable to make those decisions for yourself. Under most circumstances a living will will direct that if I have an illness or I’m injured and I’m incapacitated and my doctors determine that there is no reasonable chance of survival, then I’d prefer not to be kept alive through artificial or heroic means. That’s kind of your standard living will.