couple looking over estate plan

DIY Estate Planning Dangers

You have been putting off estate planning for years. Somehow it always falls to the bottom of your to-do list. An ad pops up on your computer for a DIY estate planning service. For a low fee, all you need to do is fill in some forms and, in minutes, you have that lingering to-do item checked off the list. Is it too good to be true? Yes, it is almost always too good to be true. Estate planning is so state law specific and person-specific that such a one size fits all approach is rarely effective and can often prove dangerous. Here, we will take a look at those DIY estate planning dangers.

DIY Estate Planning Dangers

Did you know that each state has its own set of estate planning laws? Each has its own requirements for how to properly execute a will and other estate planning tools. Should your estate planning documents fail to observe these state-specific formalities, they can be vulnerable to contests and can be found invalid. If the prospect of having your estate plans tossed out as invalid is not enough, there can be dangers even if they are found to be legally valid. Even when a will or other estate planning document is found to be valid, certain provisions in the documents themselves may be rendered ineffective. For instance, states have requirements for who can serve as a personal representative of an estate. Should you select a person that fails to meet such requirements, your selection will be invalid. DIY estate planning services often fail to take into account these nuances in estate planning laws and it can have a devastating impact on a person’s estate plan.

Furthermore, a DIY estate planning service will not be able to provide you with counsel on specifics such as how to manage family dynamics within your estate plan and outside of your estate plan. Estate plans should work to maintain the peace in a family, but when done poorly, it can have the opposite effect. If you are worried about family expectations for your estate plan or the impact your estate plans may have on your family, a DIY estate plan is not likely to cut it.

A DIY estate planning service is also unlikely to counsel you on when you should update your estate plan. These services are touted more like a set it and forget it type thing. Estate plans, however, need to be updated in order to remain effective in meeting your goals. As lives change and laws change, so estate plans may need to change as well. For life changes or law changes on the horizon, a DIY estate planning service is unlikely to provide you with the heads up on how you can and should account for such changes in your estate plans.

Estate Planning Attorneys

Skip the DIY estate planning services and get trusted estate planning counsel you can count on. OC Wills & Trusts is here for you and your family. Contact us today.