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The Dangers of DIY Estate Planning

Posted on in Uncategorized

fort worth estate planning lawyerIf you have begun thinking about creating an estate plan, there is a good chance you have seen at least a few ads for self-serve estate planning or will creation services. When you first see the advertisements, it is easy to believe that such services will save you money, time, and stress. The ads might even outright claim that you do not need an attorney to develop your estate plan.

The bad news is that online document generators and DIY estate planning services lead many people into serious mistakes. These mistakes can cost a great deal in lost money, time, and frustration not only for the creators of the estate plan but also for the loved ones they leave behind.

Why You Need a Lawyer

There is no law in Texas that says you must work with an attorney to create an estate plan. However, DIY estate planning services try to “help” as many people as possible by being a “one-size-fits-most” approach. A DIY site might offer basic estate planning documents such as wills, powers of attorney, and advance medical directives. Unfortunately, the basics are often insufficient to properly address your needs. When you work with a qualified lawyer, your attorney will help you explore all of your options—including lesser-known and more complicated instruments—so that you can make the best possible decisions for yourself and your loved ones.

Consider an example: The widowed father of a severely disabled teenage daughter is concerned about how his daughter will continue to pay for a home health aide once he dies. To address this concern, he uses a DIY service to create a will and direct his daughter a substantial inheritance, with the intent of having the money go toward her care. However, the money he leaves to the daughter boosts her assets to the point where she is no longer eligible for government aid programs. If the father had worked with a lawyer, the lawyer could have assisted in the creation of a supplemental needs trusts or some other estate planning tool that would allow his daughter to keep the inheritance without losing the needed government help.

What Is Peace of Mind Worth?

DIY estate planning software and sites are generally appealing because of the price, which seems to be far lower than that of hiring an attorney. In most cases, such a service is actually less costly than sitting down and working closely with a trained professional. As with most things in life, however, you tend to get exactly what you pay for. Without the input and personalized advice that an estate planning lawyer can offer, you will never know for certain that you chose the right tools or if you could have found better options that would have given you more advantages. Perhaps even more worrying is the fact that you will never know if the documents you created with DIY software are even enforceable after you are gone.

Contact a Fort Worth Estate Planning Attorney

If you are ready to get serious about estate planning, do not find an online document mill. Speak with a qualified North Texas estate planning lawyer. Call 817-349-7730 to schedule a free consultation with a member of the team at Gonzalez Law, PLLC today. We are ready and willing to help you and your family secure your future.

 

Sources:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2019/03/29/the-problems-with-do-it-yourself-online-wills/

https://smartasset.com/taxes/the-dangers-of-diy-estate-planning

The First Step: Call Today
It is never too late to get help on your estate plan. To discuss your situation with a seasoned estate planning attorney, call our Fort Worth office at 817-349-7730. Or, reach out through our online contact form. We will respond as soon as possible.
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