Why DIY Wills & Trusts Don’t Work

DIY Wills and Trusts seem practical and easier, but wind up being quite costly and dangerous. The sense of control you may get from creating your own Will can also be found creating one safely with an estate planning lawyer. And it may even cost you less money. The appreciation and satisfaction of DIY planning can feel rewarding, however, without someone asking you pertinent questions and reviewing all documents properly, it can lead to costly mistakes to you and your heirs. Although a DIY estate plan may appear more cost effective, it’s actually more expensive. This is especially true, if it is never completed.

Here are a few of the reasons why DIY doesn’t work:

⇒ Key documents could be missing and you would have no one to tell you otherwise

⇒ Documents are not finally reviewed by a legal professional. Typos, mistakes, and other clerical errors are almost impossible to correct once finalized

⇒ Periodical reviews and updates aren’t allowed without completely starting over

⇒ Access to help and questions are rarely available and tend to cost you extra

⇒ Complex financial situations require a custom, strategic plan that are not “fill in the blank” forms

⇒ Silently filling out forms, without discussing it aloud with a professional, can create holes in your plan

⇒ Software packages may not have the special legislature updates for South Carolina law and could invalidate your Will

⇒ You may not intimately understand South Carolina laws and legislation like an estate planning attorney does

⇒ You may have excessive taxes, which an estate planning attorney could help you minimize or avoid

⇒ You may accidentally leave things out of the Will

⇒ South Carolina requires proper signatures and two witnesses

⇒ If you have a blended family, things can get contentious with a fill in the blank legal document

⇒ DIY Wills can create unintended consequences if you share in a small business

⇒ DIY Wills can create unintended consequences if you wish to disinherit someone

⇒ You won’t be properly covered for your investments, 401K, IRAs

⇒ Won’t guard you from creditors and attacks

⇒ Can easily be challenged by the court and the public

⇒ The site or software is not a law firm, nor is it a substitute for a law firm or attorney

⇒ Your communications aren’t protected by client-attorney privilege

Estate planning mistakes can be costly in both time and money. Although software, books, and websites seem to be a quick and easy solution, it’s not worth the risk, since these services won’t always consider the nuances of current South Carolina laws. Legal insurance services aren’t always helpful either as they can charge a small monthly fee for only a few basic estate planning documents, which can cost twice as much hiring a lawyer. At the end of the day, think about why you are searching for a DIY Will or Trust. Is it so you can plan in isolation without being face to face? To save money? Have a document quickly? For confidentiality? If you answered yes to these questions, you can have the same result by working with a professional estate planning attorney. There is a plan for every budget and every walk of life to make a cost-effective Will or Trust. This is the single most important document that can leave a legacy behind for you and your family or the community. With the amount of care and thought you’ve been putting into your wishes, let’s put that same amount of care into executing it safely and properly. Whether you call us now or you decide to plan later, you may want to consider in advance some of the questions and details involved with planning.  You can find some examples to consider with our free, downloadable e-planner.