Should you do your estate planning yourself, online? Maybe. Maybe not. If you decide to, you need to know about the pitfalls that could leave your family worse off than doing nothing at all. Online planning is a trap for the unwary. Today, we will deal with one pitfall of online planning.
To decide whether online planning is for you, you must understand your family dynamics, your assets and what will happen to them if you do nothing. The state already has a plan for your assets if you die or become incapacitated. It includes taking some of those assets. You need to know what the state’s plan is, so if you don’t agree, you can change it.
Don’t I just need a Will and can I get one online?
Here’s the funny thing about estate planning. Sometimes the one document everyone thinks they need, a will, actually does the least for them.
Every adult needs SOME estate planning. A will is helpful because it appoints a person after your death to be in charge and says who gets what. But if you name the same people as the state has lined up for you, then an online document will probably not be helpful for you at all.
A will does not keep your family out of court. Most likely, it will land your family IN court. And if you’ve handled your online will improperly, it may require the person you’ve named to administer your will to get a bond (like an insurance policy). The person you’ve trusted may not be able to get a bond if s/he has a low credit score – or it will cost a lot more. If a bond is a problem, the court may appoint a paid executor which will cost your estate more money.
Online estate planning can be risky. It may or may not be better than nothing. Your loved ones will find out after you’re gone or when you’re disabled. They will be the ones to pay the price if your online planning has failed you.
We will continue with more online planning pitfalls in next week’s post.
If you want to talk more about online planning with us or learn more about how to keep your family out of court and conflict, visit our website at Truestlaw.com or call our office at 480-949-6400 to schedule a time for us to talk. We are happy to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session for you to ensure the peace of mind for your family. We generally charge $750 for a Family Wealth Planning Session. However, because this planning is so important, we have reserved the first two spaces at no charge for the first two people who mention this article.