You know you need a will, and you are committed to getting one put in place sooner rather than later. Whatever you do, though, do not take what appears to be the “easy way out” and get it done online.
As I talk about in my book, Who Gets Your Stuff When You Die, several websites offer to create legal documents, including wills and trusts. And they do it for far cheaper than hiring an attorney. We are not going to lie — hiring an attorney to draft your will or trust can be expensive. But saving money now with one of these services could cost you and your family far more money down the road than it would have cost to hire an estate planning attorney to do it correctly.
The pitfalls of online planning
- They are not law firms — No matter what they promote, these online services are not legal entities. Lawyers do not even oversee them, so they cannot give legal advice. They cannot stop you or even warn you if you make a mistake since that would be considered legal advice. Needless to say, this would be a huge hole in your estate planning strategy by choosing them versus a lawyer.
- Online planning is not one-size-fits-all — Online services typically plug your information into generic forms, creating a one-size-fits-all strategy that is not meant for estate planning. Your situation and family are unique, and your will or trust should be customized and catered to those factors.
- The statistics do not lie — Approximately 80% of wills created online end up having problems embedded in them when their families go to probate them. These problems can cost your family thousands more than a properly drafted will.
- You cannot account for your children’s needs — Why are online wills a huge mistake? You cannot set up a special needs trust that guarantees your child can still claim government benefits. You also cannot set up a will or a trust with specific instructions for handling your assets and which of your children will take ownership.
- There are no guarantees — You cannot guarantee that anything you put in your online will or trust is legally viable or if the specifics of your documents will hold up in a court of law.
As you can see from these five pitfalls, all an online service can do is save you money. But how much money have you really saved if your will or trust has an egregious error that must be fixed during a court proceeding? Your family could end up spending your entire estate trying to clean up the mess.
Call Leigh Hilton PLLC today!!
Call Leigh Hilton PLLC and we will help walk you through all of your estate planning needs. We have ample experience with wills and trusts and will take into consideration your particular situation. Proper planning of an estate, whether through a will, trust, or both, helps ensure your wishes are carried out.
Leigh Hilton PLLC wants to be your first call every time for any estate planning need. We look forward to serving you.
Thanks for reading!