Making an Estate Plan is an essential part of anyone’s life. An Estate Plan is a legal document that dictates what happens to your estate (your belongings and any property you own) and your assets (any money left behind) after you pass away. It can take many forms, including Trusts and healthcare forms, but the bedrock of an Estate Plan is a Last Will and Testament.
An Estate Plan is written by an experienced lawyer at the request of an individual. Recently, however, websites like LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer have popped up and increased in popularity. The websites offer purported templates of legal documents that customers can pay to purchase in order to create their own Estate Plan without the help of a lawyer.
Unfortunately, these cheap documents are generic and rarely hold up in court. The same goes for just scribbling down your own wishes for your estate. Estate Plans are different in every state, so they need specific wording depending on which state you live in. Self-crafted Estate Plans are generally seen as vague or non-binding in probate court. The best outcome that normally happens with a DIY Estate Plan is that the family has to pay a lawyer huge amounts of money to come in and decipher it. The worst outcome is that it is not even considered in court.
These Estate Plans also do not account for everything that they traditionally could. Estate Plans are about more than just passing on belongings! For instance, your Estate Plan can be used to designate a guardian for your children should you pass away before they are legal adults. It can also dictate long-term healthcare decisions for yourself if you become incapicatated or unable to make your own decisions. They can even donate to charities.
The worst thing is that these companies often know the risk of DIY Estate Planning even as they offer it to customers. In it’s own 2020 Terms of Service, Rocket Lawyer states that its documents “should not be relied upon for personal, medical, legal, or financial decisions.” LegalZoom recommends that its customers connect with an actual lawyer after using one of their generic templates. These practices are dangerous to susceptible families.
Sadly, the thing that has driven most customers to DIY Estate Planning is the perceived lower cost. What many people do not consider, however, is the cost of having your Estate Plan rewritten by a lawyer after LegalZoom has made a mess of it. The actual cost of making a correct Estate Plan is also likely much lower than people assume. At the Law Office of Tanika L. Finney, we are dedicated to working with Montgomery families and individuals to help create an affordable Estate Plan.
At the Law Office of Tanika L. Finney, we believe in Life Planning Redefined: protecting your family, belongings, legacy, and rights. Contact the Law Office of Tanika L. Finney today to create a real Estate Plan and protect your family. Don’t waste time on the online stuff! What are you waiting for?