Estate planning protects your assets and ensures your loved ones will be provided for after you’re gone. However, not all estate plans are created equally.
DIY estate planning is growing in popularity thanks to the easy availability of online templates. However, users of these cookie-cutter templates are taking a big risk. Often, they won’t know their plan is inadequate until it’s too late.
The Dangers of DIY Estate Planning
Some of the pitfalls associated with online estate plans include:
Templates aren’t necessarily created by lawyers.
There is no uniform quality control mechanism for online templates and DIY guides. You could be using a template that is based on incorrect or outdated information.
Relevant laws vary by location.
Estate planning laws vary from state to state. If you’re using a template based on another state’s laws, it may not provide the necessary level of protection.
Templates are made for small, simple estates.
Middle- and upper-income adults often have assets that exceed what a template is designed to protect.
Templates don’t take into account complex family situations.
Your stepchildren, children from a previous marriage, or unmarried romantic partner could easily be left out in the cold if you’re relying on a template you found online.
Templates can’t be personalized to meet specific challenges.
If you have goals such as providing for an heir with special needs, protecting a family business, or making charitable gifts, cookie-cutter templates are ill-equipped to meet your needs.
When you work with an estate planning lawyer, you can be confident that you’re receiving a plan that fits your unique needs and is written to be in full compliance with applicable state and federal laws. Your attorney can also provide guidance to help you determine when an update might be necessary.
Do You Need To Speak With A Lawyer About Estate Planning?
If you need to speak with an experienced estate planning lawyer please contact us online or call our Virginia Beach office directly at 757.490.3500 to schedule your free consultation. We have offices throughout Virginia including Chesapeake, Newport News, Norfolk and Suffolk.