Jan 2015

Common Problems with DIY Estate Plan Forms

Avoid DIY estate planning at all costs.

These days, it’s easy to find just about anything online, and legal forms are no exception. Many people are tempted to save time and money by relying on do-it-yourself forms to create a will, power of attorney, or other estate planning documents. There are even websites that promise to help you create the forms you need. Most people never notice the fine print on these sites that warns users about using online legal documents. In every case, do-it-yourself is really at-your-own-risk.

Unfortunately, what you might save in time and money can cost you and your family members unnecessary time and money in the long run. The following are just a handful of the problems posed by DIY estate planning forms.

You Don’t Actually Save Money

In many cases, it’s actually more economical to work with a lawyer at a physical law firm. Many people delay making an estate plan or turn to online forms because they believe they can’t afford a lawyer. When you compare the cost of legal DIY websites to a lawyer’s fee for preparing an estate plan, chances are you will be pleasantly surprised by the affordability and convenience your estate planning lawyer offers.

Overly Simple

In any legal document, a single word or phrase can have significant consequences. This is especially true in estate planning documents. The language used must be precisely calculated to create the desired results. Whether you’re creating a will, trust, power of attorney, or other document, this is much more than just paperwork – these are the documents that will determine what happens to the assets you have worked a lifetime to build. The documents you find online are not created specifically for you and your family. In most cases, they are overly simplified and fail to account for the complexities and nuances of an individual’s assets, family situation, and goals.

Not State-Specific

Probate and estate law is largely controlled by state law, and these laws continually evolve. A generic form may not account for important changes in Missouri estate and tax laws. An outdated form could create serious problems that may even compromise the validity of your estate planning documents in court.

No Comprehensive Plan

An estate plan works best when it incorporates all the documents you need to protect your property and your loved ones. In most cases, these documents impact each other. If you create a trust using an Internet form, for example, you risk jeopardizing any other estate plan documents you may have. Furthermore, without an attorney’s guidance, may you overlook or forget about important assets or issues that belong in your estate plan. Your estate planning lawyer can also identify the documents you really need to achieve your goals.

Springfield, Missouri Estate Planning Law Firm

An estate plan mistake can have serious long-term consequences. At the Law Offices of Randy L. Smith, LLC, we help people create estate planning documents that provide peace of mind. Call today at (417) 841-2775 to speak to an experienced estate planning lawyer about your estate plan.

This website has been prepared by The Law Office of Randy L. Smith, LLC for informational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.