There are numerous and often very personal reasons why people put off creating an estate plan. You may be among those who find it difficult to think about these topics in the privacy of your own home, let alone discussing them with a stranger in a lawyer's officer.
If you are considering trying an online or do-it-yourself will or trust, you may think you have found the perfect solution. However, DIY estate planning has many drawbacks you may not even recognize until it is too late.
Look closely before you leap
A complete estate plan is more complex than assigning your belongings to your survivors. You may want to include information about your wishes for medical care if you become incapacitated or establish a more controlled manner of distributing inheritances, such as with a trust. The problem with DIY estate planning is that it does not always offer what you need or even provide you with information about your options. Other drawbacks to DIY plans include the following:
- They often use very general language so they can apply to more situations, but this vagueness can lead to confusion and miscommunication.
- They do not always comply with the nuances of state laws.
- They do not take into consideration any special circumstances you may have with your heirs.
- They assume you already understand the various documents in a complete estate plan and that you know what us best for your plan.
- They offer the most basic plan, such as a will, for a low price but charge extra for additional documents, such as powers of attorney or trusts.
- They offer little or no legal advice or guidance if you have questions or become confused about the process.
If you have decided that now is the time to create your estate plan, you may have many questions. The problem is that you may not even know what questions to ask. Moving forward with a do-it-yourself will or trust may result in a plan that fails to comply with Texas laws or unintentionally leaves your loved ones confused and disappointed.
While it may seem like a money-saving decision, using an online or DIY estate plan may not meet your goals or expectations, and this may not become clear until after you have already passed away. You may obtain a clearer picture of how your estate plan will affect your loved ones and protect you in your final days after meeting with an attorney who has your best interests at heart.