Maybe your parents have just put their estate plan in place, and they’re starting to pester you about getting at least a will for yourself. Perhaps you’re going on a cruise or a cross-country road trip and are thinking it might be a good idea to have a will in place. Maybe you just adopted a dog, and you want to be sure you have something in writing to ensure that he’ll be taken care of if anything happens to you.
People begin to think about estate planning – at least putting a simple will in place – for all different kinds of reasons and as they reach various milestones in adulthood. If your will is going to be pretty straightforward, why not just use one of the many do-it-yourself (DIY) online wills?
DIY wills are highly problematic and should be avoided
If you create a will using one of the numerous online programs, you can be setting yourself up for major problems. It might seem perfectly clear and legally acceptable to you. However, there can be problems that aren’t apparent until after you’re gone. Vague language, contradictory terms and forms that don’t quite match up with the state’s legal requirements are all potential problems.
A badly made will can end up being just as bad (or worse) than having no will at all.
A customized estate plan allows you to plan for many things
It’s important to remember that estate planning isn’t just for designating what happens to your property after you’re gone. By giving powers of attorney (POA) to people you trust, you can help ensure that your health care and finances are managed if you become seriously ill or injured and are unconscious. With an advance directive, you can designate what kind of care you want (or don’t) if your condition isn’t survivable.
You can find most estate planning documents online. However, you likely won’t know without getting individualized professional assistance which ones you need.
If you’re ready to start your estate planning, even if you only want to have a will right now, you should have experienced legal guidance. This can help ensure that everything is correctly and legally codified, that you’ve made things as easy for your loved ones as possible and that your wishes are carried out. You can always add to your estate plan as your needs change.