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You Can Do Your Own Estate Plan, But Should You?

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Estate planning mistakes can be expensive to fix — that is, when they can be fixed at all.

That’s the thought that haunts New York attorney Mari Galvin whether she’s creating an estate plan for a client or confronting the aftermath when people didn’t properly plan.

“People think, ‘Oh, I have a simple life,’ but you have to understand [that if] you make a mistake and you have unintended results, you can’t bring the person back to sign a new will,” says Galvin, a partner at Cassin & Cassin law firm.

Galvin is currently sorting out the $12 million estate of a man who thought his situation was straightforward enough to plan with do-it-yourself software. His mistakes left his executors without enough cash to pay the estate’s taxes, which...

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