Understanding the Dangers of Self-Help Estate Planning

People thinking about estate planning today have more decisions to make than ever before. There are many different estate planning tools that need to be considered, and it is important that you choose how your estate planning is done. It wasn’t too long ago that the only real option for estate planning was to work with an attorney. Today there are lots of ‘do it yourself’ estate planning options out there (e.g. LegalZoom) that offer templates you can fill out, and the service will generate the needed legal forms.

While self-help tools are a great option for many things in life, estate planning isn’t one of them. Estate planning is something that really needs to be tailored to each individual client, and that simply can’t be done using a series of templates. Let’s look at some of the most important reasons why.  When it comes to estate planning, there is just no substitute for the personal touch of an attorney.

Looking at the Big Picture

One of the most important things that an attorney does that a self-help service can’t is being able to look at the big picture. For example, on sites like LegalZoom, when you’re creating a will, the site will ask you all the key questions required for this specific legal document. When you’re working with an attorney, on the other hand, they can also ask questions about your goals and aspirations so they can help decide if you may benefit from other estate planning options. They can also help ensure your will is written in such a way as to allow your estate plan to grow as you move towards your overall goals.

Keeping Up to Date with Laws

Estate planning laws and regulations are constantly being updated and changed. While it is true that the self-help tools are quickly updated to reflect the changes to the specific estate planning laws, they can’t keep up with the best recommendations. For example, if there is a change in the overall tax code, it doesn’t directly impact the way an estate plan needs to be written. These tax code changes, however, may make it so one type of trust has significant benefits that they didn’t before. An attorney will know which tools to recommend based on all the latest state and federal laws and regulations.

Personalized Attention

One of the biggest benefits of using an attorney over self-help tools for estate planning is that you are getting a personalized approach. Rather than just typing in your information on a screen, you will have an experienced attorney there so you can ask questions and get advice right away. This not only helps to ensure your estate plan is done right, but also provides an invaluable level of comfort throughout the process.

Contact Us

If you have any questions about the estate planning process, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Even if you’ve already used a tool like LegalZoom, we can review your current estate plan and provide insights on how it can be improved.

Share this on...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Email this to someone
The following two tabs change content below.

Jane J. Larson Associates

Jane J. Larson Associates provides personalized legal services for clients in Roseville, Ramsey, Hennepin, Washington, and Anoka. We’ve been providing essential legal services since 1988 and are ready to put our decades of experience to work on your case. We take stress out of the legal process, and are ready to help you today.

Latest posts by Jane J. Larson Associates (see all)