With online templates provided by websites like LegalZoom.com and RocketLawyer.com, some people are choosing to create their own estate plans, either in an effort to save money or out of convenience. The problem with online legal services is they provide a false sense of security to their patrons who are totally unaware of the legal consequences of their actions. In addition, these sites also fail to provide critical advice with respect to a given individual’s specific circumstances and they lack the wisdom of experience. With Do-It-Yourself estate planning, you may end up misunderstanding a question and therefore answering incorrectly. Attorneys know what questions to ask and what to do with the answers to avoid any unfortunate mistakes that potentially won’t be realized until it’s too late to do anything about it. If you choose to complete your own documents in spite of the risks, you should still consult with an attorney to ensure your documents are doing what you expect them to do.
Estate planning is more than just the documents; it’s your plan for your future and the future of your family. Working with an experienced attorney can also help ensure that your estate plan works in the most efficient way available. One potential hazard of Do-It-Yourself estate planning is not understanding the use of a document and giving someone more power than you intended, such as with a durable power of attorney. An attorney can help you determine what documents will best accomplish your goals and to make you aware of available estate planning options on your existing and future accounts. Once you have created an estate plan, you should be sure to revisit it on a yearly basis as well as after significant life events, including but not limited to, the birth or adoption of a child, divorce or separation, children attaining the age of maturity or any other change in your financial condition to keep your estate plan up to date.