Quick, cheap and easy is generally a good way to get tasks done. However, when it comes to creating an estate plan, cutting corners to save time and money is not the way to plan for your family's future.
Online do-it-yourself estate planning services have begun popping up more and more often. While they may seem tempting with ease-of-use and low fees, creating an estate plan online may create more problems than it solves in the long run.
What is estate planning?
An estate plan is an incredibly important legal process. Your estate plan determines what happens to your property, assets and even your health after you are no longer able to make those decisions. Creating a solid and effective estate plan helps secure your family’s future and ensure your wishes are carried out properly.
Estate plans usually consist of a will, trusts, power of attorney and an advance health care directive.
Online estate planning services typically offer a type of fill-in-the-blank form used to create these legal documents. This may be faster and cheaper, but it is not nearly as effective as the traditional route.
What are the problems with it?
Unfortunately, there are a host of problems that come with this type of plan. Most people require a lot more detail and flexibility than an online form can offer. Wills, trusts, power of attorney and an advance health care directive are complex legal documents. These types of documents require a decent amount of thought and planning.
Most people do not even realize what they need to include until they talk to someone who knows what they’re doing. These online services may not offer the type of advice you need.
Online estate plans also open up the possibility of further litigation down the road. Since these plans are not typically very flexible, your wishes may not be explicitly defined in the plan. This means your beneficiaries and heirs may be able to contest or dispute your will, opening up a whole new set of problems.
A better solution is to consult an estate planning attorney to create your plan. This may be more time consuming and cost more, but it can help eliminate all kinds of different problems that you might not even know about. Online estate planning is no substitute for professional advice and a secure plan.