Drafting your own do-it-yourself (DIY) will online might seem cheap and convenient, but it can lend you a false sense of security. When you hire an attorney, you’re paying for the peace of mind their experience ensures. Estate planning mistakes are costly to fix, and sometimes it’s just too late to undo the damage. DIY wills put you at risk for improper estate planning, which is a future burden for loved ones who suffer the consequences.
DIY Wills vs. Hiring an Attorney
More than half of all Americans don’t have a will. The process can seem overwhelming, but well informed estate planning allows you to express your wishes after you’re gone, and it can prevent conflict within complex family dynamics. Having all documents in order reduces confusion and the possibility that disputes might need to be resolved in court.
The software for DIY wills can’t advise you on your specific situation. Nothing replaces the face-to-face guidance a good attorney provides. DIY wills are a one-size-fits-all solution to estate planning. These online services are largely inadequate for our complicated personal, professional, and financial lives. Consider what might happen if you forget a document, or aren’t aware of some nuance in your state’s probate code. Another issue with DIY wills where it’s possible to go astray is in the realm of settling estate taxes.
Yes, it seems convenient to open your laptop and settle things in the privacy of your own home, and it’s true that it’s better to have any plan, than no plan at all. But DIY wills leave you vulnerable to unforeseen mistakes. Answering one question incorrectly, or failing to execute a document properly, may render it invalid. Regardless of what you choose, whether it’s a fill-in-the-blank form, or leaving things in the hands of a trusted professional, keep your documents up-to-date with any life changes.