When Estate Planning, Don’t Let Mistakes Thwart Your Wishes

Should you work with an attorney to write your will, or can you do it yourself? That depends on a number of things, including where you live.

A man sits with his head in his hands and his elbows on a table, clearly upset.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When someone has trained and worked in a profession for many years, it becomes too easy for them to assume that everyone else also understands the fundamentals of their field. An auto mechanic may think it’s common knowledge that a car’s oil should be changed regularly and what will happen if it’s not. An electrician may assume that everyone knows the necessity of having a proper ground connection when replacing an outlet or fixture. Estate planning attorneys and financial planning professionals are often, sadly, no different.

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James J. Ferraro, JD
Vice President/Legal Counsel, Argent Trust Company

James Ferraro is a vice president and trust counsel in the Shreveport, La., and Kansas City, Mo., offices of Argent Trust Company. Ferraro is a 2003 graduate of the University of Missouri at Kansas City School of Law, past president of the family and the law section of the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association, is a member of the Tax and Estate Planning Council of Shreveport and a Regional Ambassador for the Kansas City Estate Planning Symposium.