If you are considering creating your estate plan by using Do-it-Yourself software, you should reconsider. Many people believe they will save money by not hiring an estate planning attorney, but what you do not know can cost you dearly. Below are a few facts you should consider before trusting a software program to create your estate plan:
- When you use a DIY program, the documents you are provided may not have been created by an attorney. Even if a service center is available to answer your questions, the individuals you speak to are prohibited by law from giving you legal advice if they are not licensed attorneys. As a result, if you require any assistance that is outside filling-in blanks on a form, the software program or the company’s representatives cannot provide help or give you advice because it would constitute the unauthorized practice of law.
- An estate planning lawyer is required to stay on top of changes in the law (include tax laws), which can occur frequently. When you use a computer program to establish your estate plan, you have no guarantee that the forms you are using comply with the current law. In fact, inaccuracies in DIY forms are usually not discovered until it is too late to do anything about it.
- Generic documents and a software program cannot consider your individual circumstances like your lawyer can. If you have situations that are outside the norm, a computer program will not have the flexibility or expertise to properly handle it.
Don’t fall into the trap of believing a DIY software program can replace a knowledgeable and experienced attorney. The small fee you pay a lawyer to assist you will be minimal when compared to the time, money and stress it will save you and your family. Think of it this way – if you own assets valued at $400,000 (if you include IRA’s, life insurance and house, this is a very modest estate), and it costs you $2,000 to do your estate plan, that’s ½ of 1% of your assets. Is it worth it to spend a minute fraction of your assets to make sure you don’t waste them on probate or taxes, and they go to who you want – without a dispute?
The Astill Law Office has provided high quality legal services for over 30 years. We specialize in wills, trusts, estate planning, and asset protection. If you have any questions about creating a Trust, Will, or estate planning in general, contact The Astill Law Office at 801-438-8698.