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Is it safe to use Internet resources to create an estate plan?

On Behalf of | May 24, 2024 | Estate Planning & Elder Law

A quick Internet search will uncover countess self-help resources related to estate planning. That might give you a sense of relief and control over the process, giving you an opportunity to save time and costs, but you have to be careful when you embark on DIY estate planning. After all, there are many possible mistakes you could make during the process, any one of which could jeopardize the legality of your estate plan.

With so much at stake when creating your estate plan, we wanted to take some time in this post to look at the risks associated with do-it-yourself estate planning. Hopefully then you’ll understand why it’s encouraged that you secure any help that you need in creating your holistic and complete estate plan.

Be aware of these dangers of DIY estate planning

A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that estate planning is easy. It can actually be a very nuanced process, though, and if you don’t navigate it to your advantage, then you can miss several opportunities. With that in mind, let’s look at some of the biggest risks of DIY estate planning:

  • It can prove costlier: You might think that DIY estate planning is cheaper, but it can actually be more expensive for your estate if there ends up being a challenge to your will or other estate planning documents. Costs associated with probate litigation can quickly mount, forcing your estate to expend resources. This, in turn, can result in fewer assets being passed down to your loved ones.
  • It can put familial relationships at risk: If the validity of a DIY estate planning document is drawn into question after you pass away, then the matter will be litigated in probate court. This can pit family members against each other as they fight for what they think you meant in your estate plan and whether the documents you created on your own are legally binding. This can cause irreparable damage to familial relationships, which is probably something you want to avoid.
  • It can lead to missed opportunities: The great thing about estate planning is that it gives you the opportunity to pass down your assets as you see fit. If handled correctly, your estate plan may create tax benefits, motivate loved ones to achieve major life goals, and implement distribution schemes that seek to protect your assets in the long-term. If you rely on DIY resources, though, you might not even be aware of these options or they may end up poorly executed, thereby cutting you off from their advantages.
  • It can leave you without assurances: The completion of an estate plan should leave you feeling relieved and confident that your affairs are in order. But with a DIY estate plan, there’s going to be a lingering question as to whether what you’ve created will hold up legally and truly accomplish your goals. Do you want to live the rest of your days with that kind of uncertainty?

Don’t leave the future of your estate to chance

The future of your estate is in your hands. Don’t let it crumble because you’ve taken on too much or want to try to save a few bucks. Instead, find a path toward the creation of an estate plan that you know will bring your vision of the future into reality.