There are a lot of self-help resources out there, with a significant number of them aimed at helping you address your legal challenges. Estate planning isn’t any different. A quick Google search can land you in a virtual field of sample wills and trust documents, powers of attorneys and health care directive that you might think look pretty simple to navigate.
While you certainly might be able to save yourself some time and a trip to an attorney’s office by utilizing these forms and other do-it-yourself tools, the truth of the matter is that doing so could put the future of your estate and your loved ones at risk. Here’s why.
- Oversimplification: A lot of the online help guides and sample forms are very basic in nature. You might think that’s what you want, but you should consider your circumstances deeper than just the first layer of who you want to inherit your assets. For example, a basic will found online might be able to help you leave your assets to an adult child, but what if you have concerns about how those assets will be managed or spent? Through more detailed estate plan, you can utilize a trust to place requirements that must be met before assets can be distributed and name the individual who will manage it. That’s just one example of where online resources can leave you falling short of your intended outcome.
- Lack of formalities: In order for your estate planning documents to be legally valid and therefore enforceable, you’ll need to make sure you meet certain formal requirements. This might include having the signing of a document witnessed or including all of the terms that are required. That means that utilizing these sample forms could mean that you end up with no estate plan at all. This can leave your loved ones and your interests in a precarious or even a dangerous situation.
- Lack of education: There’s a lot of information online, but that doesn’t mean that it’s easy to understand or simple to see how it applies to your circumstances. As such, by foregoing legal assistance in estate planning, you might miss out on a legal avenue that could be extraordinarily beneficial to you, your estate, and your loved ones. After all, estate planning isn’t a one-size fits all process. The most advantageous thing about the process is that it is fully customizable to suit your needs and your wishes.
- No support: The Internet is not your friend and it certainly isn’t your legal advocate. Therefore, you’re not going to get the advice you need when things change. Modifications to the law or important life events might justify a modification of your estate plan, but the Internet isn’t going to be able to give you the open and honest advice that you might need to make the decisions that are best for you and your loved ones.
Don’t leave the future of your estate and your loved ones to chance
There’s too much at stake in the estate planning process to try to cut corners. Doing so can have terrible consequences. We don’t say that to try to scare you, but rather to let you know that you deserve better than poor guidance given online. So, if you’re ready to learn about the law and what it can do for you, your estate, and your loved ones, then now may be the best time to reach out to an experienced estate planning attorney who can help educate and guide you through the process. Only then can you rest assured that your matters are in competent hands.