Don’t get me wrong, I love DIY, I really do. I’ve done the remodeling of homes, the epic Pinterest fails (I really should have posted them), the fixing of various broken items after watching a YouTube video. I’ve done them all, so I do appreciate that DIY drive. Preparing your estate plan is just one of those things that I advise against going DIY.
Here are my top 5 reasons for why you should go to an attorney instead of using a DIY estate planning program.
1. The legal jargon. Oh yes, there is legalese up the wazoo. Only that legalese actually means something and if you get tired of looking up the meaning of the legalese and accidentally select the wrong radio button, it could have severe unintended consequences.
2. Building a rapport or relationship. When you work with an attorney, you have the opportunity to share your concerns and goals while creating your estate plan. There may be issues with drug abuse or an overactive charge card that you’d like to plan for. You can tell that to an attorney and draft a plan that addresses those concerns.
3. Options. Based on the information you share with the attorney, including your goals and concerns, the attorney is going to give you options you can choose from. It’s not a one-size-fits-all scenario that you get from a boilerplate form. Not only do you get options, but you get the option of changing them too. Your estate plan is only limited by your creativity.
4. Concern over technical failures. You might feel great having muddled through what you think is a fantastic revocable trust only to find out it’s irrevocable as drafted or perhaps you did it right and you created a revocable trust and forgot the will…and didn’t know you had to fund it either. All that hard work you did (for an amazing price, by the way) is worth nothing more than the paper you printed it on. Your family will be hiring an attorney for a probate.
5. Less stress. Let’s face it, it feels good to explain what you want and have someone else make that happen, with all the right documentation. No need to search the web for the meanings, that’s what your attorney does for you. If a question pops up, you merely call your attorney and get the answer. Knowing the answer lies just a phone call or email away is a reassuring feeling.
So, there you have it folks. My top 5 reasons for hiring an attorney to prepare your estate plan, instead of taking the DIY path. You might spend a little more up front, but it will save you thousands in the long run. Save the DIY for tiling your shower!