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DIY Estate Planning: Dangerous Territory

 Posted on August 14, 2013 in Digital Estate Plan

Although a recent survey indicates that as many as 1/3 of Americans are using online estate planning tools or generic forms they have purchased, creating your own estate planning documents is tricky. Working with a lawyer is the only way to make sure that you have articulated your desires properly.

Not Doing Enough

One of the dangers in using a standard online approach to estate planning is that you simply won't create the kind of comprehensive plan you'll need if something happens to you. If you have any kind of unique aspect to your situation, like children with special needs, you're unlikely to find that the "one size fits all" approach to estate planning works for you. These online services tend to present the "bare bones" for your needs, which could mean missing out on critical documents or needs that you are not aware of until it's too late.

Doing Too Much

Estate planning documents are generally drafted by lawyers, and the wording and phrases used in those documents must be exact in order for your wishes to be carried out. Small mistakes can completely disrupt your goals for your estate, causing family drama and implementing the opposite of your estate plans due to simple mistakes. When you're working with an attorney, on the other hand, you'll rest assured that your lawyer is going through the documents with a fine-toothed comb to ensure that all your wishes are clearly articulated. While your chances for error are extremely high doing it yourself, attorneys are trained to look for loopholes- and how to close them.

Completing your estate plans on your own might seem like a way to save some time and money- but it can end up costing you or your heirs in spades. You'll either have to pay an attorney to do it right all over again, or your heirs will find out after you've passed away that serious mistakes will alter what they thought was going to happen. Don't let yourself be the victim of poor DIY estate planning- contact an attorney in Illinois today.

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