DIY Estate Planning Fails & Risks — Part 1

DIY wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and healthcare directives may seem cheap and easy but could actually be extremely harmful to your loved ones. Just because you created “legal” estate planning documents doesn’t mean they will actually work when they need to.

Here’s why relying on DIY or online estate planning documents can actually be worse than having no estate plan at all:

In the event of your death or incapacity, keeping your family out of court and conflict is the primary purpose of estate planning. Having a plan in place is the most important aspect of estate planning- not the documentation at all. That’s why having someone on your side who can anticipate the potential problem areas and conflicts of your plan, is so important.

Another important thing to consider when looking at online DIY plans is that one size does not fit all. Not addressing the real-life complexities of each individual family while planning for the ever-changing circumstances of your life, is one of the most detrimental decisions you can make.

Misconceptions of DIY Estate Planning

Wills alone don’t do much. In fact, relying on a will alone ensures your family and friends have to go to court when you die. Plus, a will doesn’t even come into play if you are incapacitated. And if you have minor children, relying on a will alone to designate their legal guardians could leave your kids vulnerable to being taken out of your home and into the care of strangers.

Having the best documents in the world can still mean they might fail. As silly as it sounds, forgetting to sign the documents or signing the documents improperly can stand in the way of your plan falling into place. Many states even require that you and every witness to your will must sign it in the presence of one another. If your DIY will doesn’t mention that condition and you fail to follow this procedure, the document can end up worthless.

If you have created or started a DIY estate plan and wish to have it reviewed, book a complimentary Family Wealth Planning Session today.

Also, be sure to tune in next week in part two of this series blog, where we will cover the remaining three ways your DIY estate plan can fail and leave you at risk.