All wills are not created equal.
Most people do not think estate planning is important.
Seems like a bold statement, yes?
Unfortunately, it is backed up by numbers.
A recent Caring.com survey showed 50 percent of Americans did not have at least a last will and testament.
Can you just prepare a free online and call it good?
According to a recent U.S. News & World Report article approriately titled “Should You Make a Free Will Online?,” estate planning is often more complex than a free online resource leads you to believe.
You can do your own estate plan.
You can use a do-it-yourself program.
You can also work with an experienced estate planning attorney.
Not all are DIY estate plans are as simple as they seem.
There are pitfalls to drafting your own will.
The truth is probate, tax, and property laws all need to be addressed.
You need to understand how each of these applies to your unique circumstances both in your own state and at the federal level.
Successful do-it-yourself wills demand that you have a very basic estate with very little to pass on when you die.
Think young single male with no wife, no children, a truck, a dog, and his first real job.
An online service is essentially the same, but with software to help walk you through the process.
Not all software companies are state-specific when it comes to the applicable laws for your state.
This fact alone can make DIY estate planning incredibly dangerous.
While you think you have addressed everything in your estate plan, it could be ineffective when needed.
Working with an experienced estate planning attorney is your best option.
In fact, if you have complex investments, property in multiple states, or a blended family, you should not even consider taking on your estate plan by yourself.
Although paying an experienced estate planning attorney may seem wasteful when compared to free software, you will be saving money in the long term.
He or she brings understanding of relevant state and federal laws to your specific situation.
This alone helps ensure that your plan will meet your needs and the legal requirements to protect everyone you love and everything you have.
After all, that is what estate planning peace of mind is all about.
Reference: U.S. News & World Report (January 9, 2019) “Should You Make a Free Will Online?”