We live in the age of DIY. Our culture encourages people to tackle projects on their own. This phenomenon ranges from home improvement to estate planning. There is a wealth of online tools and information about estate planning. This may make it tempting to bypass a lawyer and do your own estate planning. While a DIY estate plan may seem convenient and affordable, it has plenty of drawbacks.

Online estate planning tools and pre-made documents just do not cut it. No matter how much of a DIY person you are, here are some reasons why you should avoid going that route for your estate plan.

Inadequate documents

Contrary to popular belief, an “estate plan” is not a single document or even a universal collection of documents. Each estate plan is unique. It is all about creating an assortment of documents according to your needs. You will not find the right documents you need through a DIY process. This approach does not account for complex papers like trusts, powers of attorney and health care proxies.

Generic and ineffective

You can find templates of estate planning documents online. However, by its very nature, estate planning is not a one-size-fits-all venture. Do you think a generic document online will account for all your unique assets, particular wishes and the needs of your beneficiaries? Your estate deserves custom planning.


Estate planning laws vary by state. Plus, laws frequently change. This makes it difficult to enforce DIY estate planning documents. If you do not create your document according to state laws, it may not hold up in court. This can mean your efforts may be for nothing. It is worth it to craft an actual plan instead of downloading something from the internet.

Ultimately, DIY estate plans are risky. This is one area of your life that you should not attempt to handle by yourself.