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The Dangers of DIY Online Wills


It seems in the short run, an online will can save you time and money. The truth of the matter is they can lead to expensive estate planning mistakes. For instance, DIY estate planning services that sell estate planning packages often miss key estate planning documents that few people would know to inquire about. So while it may seem quick, economical, and efficient to create an online will, the potential costs and issues with DIY estate planning services are high and noteworthy. 

DIY wills don’t take into account the complex issues of life such as divorce, stepfamilies, and unknown variables like if one of your designated beneficiaries dies before you do. And more often than not we don’t know what we are looking for until we talk to someone about our family life and concerns. Most of us don’t know exactly what we want or need with respect to estate planning because we don’t know what’s available and what is best suited to our needs. Once you get into the complexities of family dynamics and perhaps trust language specific to your state and situation, DIY estate planning can cause more challenges than working with a team of professionals. These services have attorneys on staff but specific help for your personal situation and documents is unlikely. And if personal advice is offered, it’s at a high cost. 

There are four basic estate planning documents: a will, a trust, power of attorney for healthcare and power of attorney for property and finances, and advanced directives. For more information on these specific estate planning documents, contact us. You can find these documents on a DIY site but they don’t offer personalized advice or guidance, only limited attorney consultation via a prefabricated drop-down of questions and answers. The documents on these sites are fill-in-the-blank. Moreover, the documents may be available only if you purchase the higher-end packages. Something to be mindful of is that each state has its own laws and statutes that govern estate planning and implementation.