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Online estate plans are not such a bargain

There is no crime in wanting to save money wherever you can. It may be your habit to purchase generic brands of household goods, change your own car oil and do as many home repairs on your own as you can. You certainly recognize, however, when a repair or upgrade requires professional attention. There may also be certain products you would not trust in the generic form.

One time when you may be making a mistake to rely on a do-it-yourself, generic product is when it comes to estate planning. While it is true that the internet offers options for you to complete your will on your own for a low, low price, you may find out too late that you get what you pay for.

DIY estate plans often fall short

No two families are the same, so no two estate plans can be the same. This is one reason why do-it-yourself, fill-in-the-blank forms are not always adequate for every estate. Nevertheless, many online estate-planning companies offer this product. These wills must be as general and vague as possible to accommodate variations in probate laws, which are different in every state. Unfortunately, if you are not well versed in New York's probate code, you may not know if your do-it-yourself will measures up.

Other common drawbacks to online wills include the following:

  • You may not have the ability to customize your plan for special circumstances in your family.
  • You will likely have to pay extra to access additional documents, such as powers of attorney, advance health care directives or trusts, which can be critical to a complete estate plan.
  • If you have questions about your plan, online companies may offer help in the form of FAQ pages or limited correspondence with a professional.
  • You may not know what estate planning tools are most appropriate for your circumstances, and an online company does not offer that personal guidance.

You may not ever realize the inadequacies in your estate plan, but your loved ones will be left to deal with any confusing or incomplete elements. This may result in your family spending months in probate litigation or obtaining a court order that falls short of what you intended for your possessions and your loved ones. Instead of relying on a generic, do-it-yourself estate plan, you may find peace of mind with the experienced assistance of a skilled attorney.

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