The Internet can be an invaluable resource. But it can also get you into trouble. This can be especially true when it comes to estate planning. Sure, there are a lot of self-help guides online. You’ll probably even find boilerplate forms that merely require you to fill in the blanks. But are these documents right for you? You might be temped to say “yes,” but you need to recognize the risks associated with engaging in estate planning on your own and foregoing the assistance of a qualified legal professional.
Why Internet resources probably aren’t right for you
Make no mistake. You need a well thought out, holistic estate plan to meet your needs. However, utilizing online resources can be a big mistake, and here’s why:
- Documents over-simplified: Every estate plan should be custom-tailored to address the issues that are important to the estate planner and deal with the issues that are unique to his or her family. Online documents and self-help guides can’t anticipate these particularities. As a result, they are often broad and only provide very basic protection, if any. Your loved ones deserve more than that.
- Plans end up with holes: Those who engage in estate planning on their own often end up with gaps in their plans. They might have assets that slip through protections, or they may neglect to identify an individual to make important healthcare and financial decisions in the event of incapacitation. These mistakes can be enormously costly to you, your estate, and your loved ones. It can even lead to heated familial disputes over your assets.
- Plans might not comply with state law: Since many online resources only provide general guidance, a lot of times they neglect to address the particularities of state law. This can lead to entire estate planning documents being deemed invalid, thereby completely derailing your estate plan and your wishes for the future.
Seek out competent help for your estate planning needs
These are just a few of the reasons why turning to online estate planning resources can be disastrous. If you’re in the market for estate planning assistance, consider turning to an attorney who can provide you with the personalized approach needed to protect you, your assets, and those who are important to you.