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Estate planning cannot be window-shopped on the internet

The internet is a superb self-educator for the layman on a vast array of once-sheltered professional areas of knowledge. For example, a patient in Minnesota or any other state can now research medical databases and become as erudite on a particular disease process as desired. If there is a hidden danger in this exciting technology, it is that people will tend to believe that they no longer need professional representation to do even complex projects. One of those areas where such thinking can backfire and create potentially serious problems is in estate planning.

Because estate planning deals with the intricacies of a state probate codes, along with federal and state tax provisions, it is not a good idea to try and piece the estate plan together by oneself. Selecting sample forms that may be minimally priced is a superficial makeshift gamble that does not provide the full range of knowledge and experience that are necessary to assure the right result. It may surprise many to know that a basic estate plan may be moderately and affordably priced.

Especially for a young couple or individual starting out in life, the initial process of obtaining an estate plan could be an affordable budgeted item. For those with established asset bases and a business or large investment portfolio, the fees will be larger but the job is bigger and the stakes are high. In any event, initial consultations to determine all of the options and recommendations for one's plan are usually quite reasonable.

It is recommended, however, that Minnesota residents choose an estate planning attorney carefully. It is important to find the right fit and to associate with a professional that hits all the right chords in explaining the process. Asking questions about the person's experience is appropriate and even necessary. Experience and a strong background in any particular needs that the client has are vital components of building a lasting relationship with a strong professional and his or her colleagues and office staff.

Source: morningstar.com, "Get Your Estate Plan in Gear", Christine Benz, Sept. 23, 2016

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