When my companies were acquired in 2018, I ended up making some money. Prior to that, 99% of my “wealth” was illiquid shares of my startups.
With liquid money, I started diversifying.
I started getting advice that I should think about estate planning to “protect” my wealth, either by using a lawyer or doing it yourself online.
There is no doubt that estate planning is critical to safeguarding your wealth.
I got introduced to an estate planning attorney. She proposed a 30-minute “intro” phone call. I got a bit nervous. I thought I had extremely simple estate planning needs. Heck, I didn’t even have a legit estate to discuss for 30 minutes. The call never happened.
Another attorney worked slightly better for me. She was ready to communicate over email. However when the time came to start the process, she sent me a bunch of PDFs to print out, fill, scan and send back. The PDFs had too many superficial questions that were not related to the task at hand. I’m also extremely messy with paperwork. So that didn’t work as well.
I started searching for a DIY online service. It was the least painful and most cost-effective option for my needs.
The main legal documents that are part of estate planning are wills and trusts. In a will you specify - how to transfer your assets to beneficiaries after your death. Trusts are most often used in estate plans to minimize taxes and skip the probate process.
I was able to list down the big 3 (real estate, brokerage, bank) in the online estate planning service. They sent me nice PDFs. I printed and got the documents notarized. I got my friends to sign as witnesses.
I felt relaxed and responsible.
Not so fast.
After some time, I wanted to update the list of assets. I didn’t know how to update these documents. Should I buy Adobe Acrobat Pro to update these documents myself? Can I even change documents that are already notarized? Will I spoil the page numbers? Will the documents remain “valid” after those changes?
I contacted the online service. They offered to schedule a call with their attorney. Back to Square 1.
I eventually realized that estate planning does not capture everything. Examples:
- Things of insignificant monetary value but high sentimental value.
- Niche assets like heirloom, collectibles, digital assets (domains, crypto), etc.
You get the idea. Your heirs/beneficiaries will not get the complete picture from your estate planning documents.
Updating them is cumbersome. You drown in legalese. You avoid the pain of updating them. This gives you a false sense of security.
This is partly by design. Estate planning documents are legal documents. Their primary objective is to be enforceable in a court of law. They are not supposed to be “live documents” and well suited for a system of record.
Kubera ensures that nothing falls between the cracks. All the information on your wealth is transferred smoothly. Other critical information like debt and insurance is also available side-by-side.
Disclaimer: This article does not constitute legal advice or recommendations and should not be relied upon as such. It only talks about the author’s experiences and his opinions based on his situations. Kubera doesn't replace your Will. Kubera helps you safely transfer up to date information about your wealth and other important documents to the beneficiary. You may still need a Will and Beneficiary Nominations for your bank and investment accounts, based on your situation, for your beneficiaries to legally get access to them. Appropriate legal advice from an expert should be obtained in actual situations.
Kubera helps you protect your wealth by keeping track of your net worth and storing important documents. It also ensures safe transfer of this critical information to your beneficiary, if something unexpected happens to you. Read the story behind Kubera.
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