Let’s be honest—no one likes to think about planning for their own death. For that reason, many people put off estate planning until it’s too late. Alternatively, they try to find the quickest and easiest solution to drafting a will, thinking that it doesn’t really matter.
The truth is, a will is the most basic and essential component of estate planning and everyone should have one. Even if you don’t have many assets or a complex estate, a will is necessary to ensure that your property is distributed according to your wishes after you’re no longer here. Creating a will is not something that should be taken lightly.
Nowadays, companies offer a variety of online will preparation services that may seem attractive at first glance. Before you fork over your money for a do-it-yourself will template, take a moment to consider what you’re really getting.
The Pitfalls of Do-It-Yourself Wills
DIY document preparation services like LegalZoom want you to believe that creating a will is as simple as filling out a one-size-fits-all form. The forms are typically accompanied by a general disclaimer that document preparation services are not a substitute for actual legal advice, while at the same time claiming to be just as effective as documents created by attorneys. Common sense should tell you that both of these things can’t be true.
DIY will services are designed to create a false sense of security. Official-looking forms give customers a sense that what they’re doing is correct. In reality, the forms are not as easy to use as they may appear. Document preparation services recognize that a majority of customers filling out forms make mistakes, and therefore offer “professionals” to help. The problem, though, is that LegalZoom is not a law firm; their “professionals” are not lawyers, nor are they qualified in any way to give legal advice.
A will is first and foremost a binding legal document. It only makes sense that it should be drafted with the advice of someone who understands the law. The laws governing wills vary from state to state, making a one-size-fits-all form a virtual impossibility. Moreover, the laws are always changing and evolving. There is no guarantee that online DIY will products have been updated accordingly.
Finally, every person’s financial situation is different. It stands to reason, then, that every will should be different. Just because a portion of a form may work for a lot of people doesn’t mean it will meet your needs, and it’s unrealistic to think that a pre-drafted form will cover every aspect of your unique situation.
The biggest problem with mistakes in wills is that they don’t come to light until after you’re gone and it’s too late to correct them. The only way to have true peace of mind is to have someone who knows the law review your will when it’s created. When it comes to something as important as planning for your future, it’s important to do it right.
How an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney Can Help
As the old adage goes, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. This is certainly true of discount DIY will preparation services. Saving a few dollars today is not worth the risk of your wishes not being carried out in the future.
At the Christopher B. Johnson Law Office, we understand that estate planning can seem overwhelming. With over 18 years of experience providing affordable will services to the people of Pasadena, we’re here to take the pain out of will preparation and ensure that you create a will that is tailored to your unique circumstances. If you’re interested in creating or changing a will, contact us today to discuss your situation.