The idea of Estate Planning is daunting to many people. First, you have to figure out who you trust to handle your affairs when you are no longer able to, and you have to think about what you want to happen to your assets when you’re gone. If you have a very large or complex estate, you have to think about tax planning. And while you may think your estate planning should be simple, it is often not as simple as you think.
There are many services out there that that aim to make estate planning easier and more accessible. You can find online DIY kits or fill in the blank forms for a small fee. The problem is that using those DIY sites or forms generally leaves your estate plan full of errors. These errors can lead to expensive, unwanted, and often unexpected consequences.
Language matters. It is not uncommon to find that the wording in the online plan leaves your estate doing the opposite of what you wanted.
Every estate plan is different. Many of those online forms don’t account for any variation other than splitting everything equally between your children, or leaving everything to a spouse. If you want to disinherit someone, or have a specific plan on how you want your assets divided, you end up trying to figure out how to fill in the blank without knowing how to do so.
Many of the online kits either aren’t drafted by legal professionals who know or understand how certain language will affect the division of your assets, they don’t give you the ability to personalize your wishes, or they don’t account for different rules across different states. Some of them are so poorly drafted that it can cause major litigation to resolve.
It is very common to have to re-do your online will once it becomes clear that it does not accurately reflect your wishes. Many attorneys will charge you more to fix online estate planning documents than they would if you are starting fresh, and there are many more attorneys that won’t even touch your estate planning unless you are agreeing to redo everything from scratch.
A good lawyer will review your estate plan with you and advise you on the best way to meet your goals. We can help you leave a clear and concise plan for your heirs and beneficiaries to follow. You may spend a little more up front, but your estate will be better off in the end.