Estate planning is an important responsibility. Too many people underestimate the urgency of the process and put it off until it is too late. According to the AARP, only 40 percent of American adults have planned their estates. If you are thinking about drafting a will or establishing a trust, you are on the right track, but you should proceed with caution.
Many DIY services have emerged that promise customers the resources needed to complete estate planning independently. While affordability and convenience are surely appealing to many, there are many risks associated with DIY estate planning that you should not overlook. Consider the following three reasons why DIY estate planning may be a bad idea:
1. Preventable mistakes are a possibility
At the end of the day, everybody makes mistakes. That said, you are even more likely to make a mistake when you are completing a task that is unfamiliar or when you're dealing with a specialized subject matter that you have no background in. This may be the case when you are attempting to complete a will or trust on your own without any professional legal advice. It may seem easy, but you can make simple mistakes that a professional would not.
2. Your plan may become outdated
Many of the aforementioned DIY resources also present estate planning as a one-time process that you are done with once it is finished. On the contrary, estate planning is an ongoing process that you must engage with continually to ensure that your plan is up to date. When you complete your plan on your own, it can be difficult to revise the documents to update them as necessary.
3. The plan may not be entirely legal
In many circumstances, it is, unfortunately, true that wills created online through DIY options are not even legally valid. Even if they are, it is possible that they could be challenged and very easily thrown out because they were created without any legal consultation.