By Solid Serenity Legal Solutions
With all the tools available for learning about and drafting documents, it would be understandable to believe that everyone has basic estate planning documents, such as a will, in place. But, according to a recent article from the AARP, it appears that is not the case.
Only 4 in 10 Americans over the age of 18 have a will in place. There are many online tools that proclaim they can help you plan for your family without hiring a lawyer. Using such tools may be tempting, and lead you to believe it is worth the money saved to try and do it on your own. And while a DIY will done online might be better than no will at all, there are a few reasons to be cautious before taking that route over meeting with an estate planning attorney.
(1) Cookie Cutter Templates
The very nature of DIY estate planning means you are going to be working with a fill in the blank template. While this can work if your personal and financial situation is simple and if you already know exactly what you want to do with your estate, any complexities in your estate can make filling in those blanks very complicated very fast.
Sitting down with an estate planning attorney to discuss your personal wishes, your financial situation, and what the best plan is for you, your estate, and your family, can save you time, money, and a lot of frustration in the long run.
(2) You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know
A common complaint and frustration with the legal system for people is not knowing which questions to ask and what to do. The case with wills is no different.
Many attorneys, with education, knowledge, and a background in general law have tried to dabble in estate planning and failed. In such a special, and important area of knowledge for your family experience is crucial.
Coming in without specialized knowledge can lead to confusion, frustration, and lots of wasted time when you are unable to make your wishes for your estate clear in your documents.
DIY sites have attorneys on staff but oftentimes they operate under more of a Frequently Asked Questions approach that may not answer the questions you have about your specific estate. Being able to meet with an estate planning attorney face-to-face will allow you to ask specific questions and learn more about what you don’t know you don’t know, such as how taxes will be involved in the disbursement of your estate or how you can control who gets what, how they get it, and when that disbursement occurs.
(3) Peace of Mind
There are some things where if an error occurs, you can work to fix it. If you err in submitting your taxes, you may be able to rectify that error without consequence. If you err in creating your estate plan, however, by the time your family finds out, there will be nothing you can do to fix any errors in the document, leaving your heirs confused, disinherited, or with invalid documents.
By meeting with an estate planning attorney instead of doing a DIY will, you will be able to have confidence that your estate will be passed smoothly according to your wishes.
If you do not have a plan in place, or have created your own documents, call your trusted estate planning attorney today to make sure your family is protected!