Pitfalls of Online and DIY Estate Planning Packages
If you’re currently reviewing your options for estate planning, there’s a good chance you’ve at least seen a few online or TV ads offering do-it-yourself services. These solutions typically involve downloading software and answering questions; when you work your way through to the end, the technology creates a will, trust, and powers of attorney for your review. You’ll probably receive some basic instructions on how to sign in compliance with Florida’s statute on execution of wills and, once you do, the process is complete.
It’s true that the DIY estate planning is cost-effective and saves you time, but taking this route can also lead to expensive mistakes. You may not really save at all, and you could be creating considerable problems for your loved ones at your death – and even before your passing. Once you understand the pitfalls, you’ll realize that retaining a Florida estate planning lawyer is well worth the investment.
DIY Software Versus a Florida Estate Planning Attorney: For some people with complex personal, financial, and family lives, a fill-in-the-blanks approach to estate planning doesn’t fully address comprehensive needs. There’s limited personalization to account for high net worth individuals, gift planning, a family member with special needs, a beneficiary who spends irresponsibly, interests in a business, or a wide range of other factors. If you make a mistake with DIY software, your surviving loved ones could have serious problems implementing your estate plan in accordance with your wishes.
An estate planning lawyer will customize an arrangement that aligns with your goals and realities of life, because he or she takes the time to hear your story. Plus, an attorney knows how to blend different elements of an estate plan together, especially since wills, trusts, and other documents need to properly coordinate. You’ll receive advice on the options that optimize your circumstances, and your lawyer will prepare the essential documents.
From a logistical standpoint, retaining an attorney is also an advantage. For some estate planning documents, you must have neutral witnesses and a notary public to observe your signature – which are typically present at a law firm.
Fill-in-the-Blanks is NOT an Estate PIan: The power to express your preferences is what drives your estate plan. You may not be around to tell your loved ones what they are, whether it’s because you’ve passed on or you became incapacitated. To ensure your intentions become effective, it’s best to be as detailed as possible in your will, trust, power of attorney, and health care directive. It’s likely that you won’t be able to include descriptions using the data fields, drop-down menus, and click-the-box features of a DIY estate planning solution.
Trust Your Future to a Florida Estate Planning Attorney
As you can see, there are significant challenges in going the DIY route when developing an estate planning strategy. To ensure certainty and avoid disastrous errors, it’s best to work with a knowledgeable Dade City estate planning lawyer. Our team at The Law Office of Laurie R. Chane can help throughout the process, so please contact us today regarding your circumstances. You can reach our firm by calling 352-567-0055 or completing our online contact form.