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Why Using an Expert for Your Estate Planning (and Taxes!) is the Best Idea

libbyGUEST POST BY LIBBY BANKS

As an estate planning attorney, I often get calls from people who’ve used online trust or will planning software, or gone to a cheap trust mill to put their plan together. When I’m asked about whether that is a good idea, I like to tell a story about my dear husband.

My husband Andy is a great handyman. It’s wonderful to be able to ask him to fix things around the house and know he will do it right. When we first moved to our home in Phoenix, he replaced many of the appliances himself, including a cool new stove top. It was great! Well, it was great until he put in the new vent hood. I stood across the kitchen watching him do his usual good job, then walked over to the door for a better vantage point. Suddenly, the light bulbs on the hood burst and the fan spun across the room to hit the cabinet – right where I had been standing not 30 seconds before. “Honey,” I said, trying to keep my voice calm. “Do you think it’s time to call an electrician?”

We were lucky. No one got electrocuted due to the error, and I didn’t get my head shaved by the fan. But we definitely came to the conclusion that there are times when it is best to call in the experts.

The same is true when you are putting together an estate plan. If you don’t do the job right and you don’t know you’ve made a mistake, it may well be too late before you – or more likely, your family – finds out. Then the estate may be a mess and cause major headaches, expense and court involvement before your loved ones get things straightened out.

I definitely don’t try to do my taxes with all the issues that come up, and that decision has paid dividends. The Tax Goddess has saved me money! Using experts is a wise decision when we are delving into an area where we don’t have the depth of knowledge to get the job done right. Trust the experts! That’s my advice for estate planning, for taxes – and especially for anything to do with electricity!

By Libby Banks, The Law Office of Libby Banks

Read more about Libby at her website HERE

 

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PLEASE NOTE: As of late Aug 2018 there was a proposed law change that would disallow a double deduction for these charitable credits at the federal level for contributions made after Aug 2018. You are still eligible for the AZ state tax credits as the change would only impact your ability to take them as charity donations at the federal level.
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