3 Reasons to Avoid Online Forms for Wills and Estate Planning

The Internet is a wonderful tool for so many areas of life. However, drafting legal documents is not necessarily one of them. While it may sound enticing to use that website form to draft your will, here are three reasons to reconsider that decision.

They are state specific.

The online forms you come across may or may not work. These forms tend to not be state specific which means your will may or may not be valid. If you are going to take the time to draft a will or any other estate planning document (which you should), you definitely want to ensure that it is valid. Visiting an attorney in your state will ensure that it is valid and properly executed so that your interests are protected.

You are missing out on valuable legal advice.

While websites may appeal to you because it looks quick and easy to get your document drafted, you are missing out on valuable legal advice when you turn to a website for your document. Meeting with an attorney, you will become knowledgeable on how to formulate your plan and how extensive it should be; you will be advised on whether a will or a trust is better for you; and you will be able to get answers to any questions you have. An attorney does more than draft the document as you say, they provide you will legal advice on why you should have your document drafted one way or another.

Websites don’t inform you of changes in the law in the future.

A website is not going to call you when a law changes in your state that affects your will. An attorney should. The laws are constantly changing and competent estate planning attorneys stay up to date on those laws. You can request that your attorney contact you on a regular basis (typically annually) to ensure your will is still valid and appropriate. It could be that the tax laws have changed and you would now be better off with a different estate plan. Either way, you will constantly be updated on the laws and you have an attorney watching out for you and ensuring that your plan will be executed as you want it.

To sum up, you get what you pay for. Using an online form is probably cheaper and maybe less time consuming than working with an attorney to draft your will or other document but is it really worth it? These are important issues and you want to make sure that everything is in place and conforms with the law so you may want to think twice before you use that online form for your will, advanced medical directive, power of attorney, etc.

Featured image from shutterstock.

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