I was trying to finish a project at home. I needed to anchor some wood into concrete. I’m a relatively handy guy, but this isn’t something I do all the time. I knew I needed to use Tapcon® concrete screws. I used them once before. They are a distinctive blue color. I went to Home Depot and bought the screws I thought I needed. I thought I was good to go.
Later that night at home I took the time to read the package of screws. It recommended using a hammer drill. Only then did I remember that I had borrowed a hammer drill from a friend for my earlier project using Tapcon® screws. That friend was out of town. I thought another friend might have a hammer drill so I called him. He did, so I was set.
Anchoring wood to concrete is a little complicated. You have to be sure to line up the holes in the concrete and wood and your screws and think through the sequencing of things. I did all that and was ready to use my screws. I opened the package and pulled one out. It had a raised hexagonal head on it. I had intended to get flathead screws. I didn’t know there were different heads on the screws. This posed a problem because I needed to put a piece of wood on top of the piece I was anchoring into the concrete. The raised hexagonal head meant this wood wouldn’t be flush. I was able to fix this problem, but it was a frustrating glitch.
What does this have to do with your estate plan?
All of the lawyers in this office have had cases where we spent a lot of time (and big money) trying to remedy problems with deceased persons’ estate plans. Frequently if not always these are plans that they tried to prepare by themselves, without the help of a professional. In every case, I’m sure they saved money at the time they were filling out some forms they found online.
Their heirs, unfortunately, did not find their approach advantageous or helpful.
My recent project reminded me how challenging it can be to succeed with something that you’re not familiar with. In my case, I was able to perceive in the moment that I was successful. I could feel that the wood was anchored, I could see that the top board was mounted flush.
If you try preparing your estate plan on your own, only those you leave behind will be able to see how successful you really were.
Paul Danborn and Bob Frie do great estate planning work. It’s not all that expensive, all things considered.
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