America is a nation of do-it-yourselfers, but building a deck and creating a legally valid estate plan are two entirely different things — and a less-than-perfect deck won’t devastate your family’s financial future or the relationships among the people you care about most.
The prevalence of online legal services has led many people to believe that they can create legal documents cheaply and those documents will be just as effective as if they had visited an estate planning attorney. This is why that is wrong:
NO LEGAL ADVICE
These online sites are little more than document mills that churn out the same generic forms over and over. They cannot provide advice or warn you if you make a mistake. In addition, there will be no one for your family to talk to or to ask questions when something happens to you if you’ve used an online document drafting service.
Leaving it to your family to know what to do after you’re gone is a big mistake for the people you love.
ONE SIZE DOESN’T FIT ALL
Your family is different from everyone else’s family. Like every state has different inheritance laws, every family has different situations. An online form will not help you protect a child with special needs, or protect a child’s inheritance from creditors or a nasty divorce. An online form cannot tell you how to protect assets from taxes or help you achieve your goals.
Additionally, an online form cannot keep your family out of conflict during a time of grief. Even if you don’t have a lot of assets you are leaving behind, whatever you do have will be subject to distribution between the people you care most about. Some of the biggest disagreements we’ve seen after death aren’t about loads of money, but about the little things, and those little things aren’t going to be dealt with well with form documents.
SAVE NOW, PAY LATER
You may think you are saving money by using an online service to create your will or trust, but it is impossible to make a fair comparison since the services provided are entirely different.
An estate planning attorney creates an entire plan tailored to your individual needs in a legal document that will stand up in court and advises you on ways to cut taxes and save for retirement and long-term care. No online service does that. In addition, your trusted advisor is going to be there for your family when you cannot be. The people you love will need someone to turn to after you are gone. Do you want them to be stuck with figuring out who that should be during their time of grief? Or do you want to leave behind a roadmap of what you truly want to happen for your loved ones after they are gone?
Schedule a free call with our Client Services Coordinator to learn more.