diy estate plan

Why You Should Think Twice About DIY Estate Planning

You may have seen the ads. You may have had several websites pop up when researching your estate planning options. There seems to be an ever-growing number of websites that tout DIY estate planning as the answer to any problems you may have with the estate planning process. The online estate planning document business feeds off of those who wish to avoid any expense or time that would otherwise be spent on estate planning. 

While people may have estate planning on their to-do list, time and expense may be prominent barriers to actually carrying through with it. Does it seem like these DIY services may be too good to be true? Well, they often are. Prominently asserting the convenience that can come with DIY estate planning, these services can cause you more lost time and money than you may expect.

Pitfalls of DIY Estate Planning

DIY estate planning can be far from the bargain you think you are getting. Sites offering forms you can simply fill out and print in order to create an estate plan in a manner of moments can end up costing you so much more. In fact, trusting such documents to protect you and your loved ones can be worse than having no estate plan in place at all.

State-Specific Requirements

With estate planning, a one-size-fits-all approach does not suffice. First of all, different states have different requirements that must be met in order for estate planning documents to be held up as valid when the time comes. Failure to observe the proper formalities required by state law can render such documents useless. Furthermore, there are also state laws that place restrictions on things such as who can serve in roles of responsibility like the personal representative of an estate or a principal on a power of attorney. Should you fail to choose a valid candidate for such important roles, the document will be ineffective.

Complex Matters

DIY estate planning services also fail to acknowledge the complexities that can arise in estate planning. Family dynamics, for instance, are not accounted for. The potential conflicts and contests that may arise from such dynamics can be planned for and avoided. This can save your loved ones a great deal of time, money, and frustration down the road. Such nuances, however, can be best served through retaining an estate planning attorney.

Updating Important Documents

Estate planning documents should also be updated in order to remain most effective in reflecting your specific goals and needs. Think of how your life can change over time. With marriages, divorces, births, and deaths in a circle of loved ones happening along the way, your goals for the future can drastically change and your estate plans need to change with them. You will not hear something like this from DIY estate planning services that promote a “one and done” type model for estate planning.

Have you only considered DIY estate planning as a placeholder until you are able to put something more solid in place and meet with an estate planning attorney? This can create a false sense of security resulting in your estate planning goals constantly being moved to the bottom of your to-do list. Forego the DIY plan and go straight to the estate planning you can count on.

Contact a Pittsburgh Estate Planning Attorney

There is no substitution for the comprehensive, uniquely crafted estate plan that can be developed through trusted legal counsel. The estate planning team at Jones Gregg Creehan & Gerace will meet with you personally and discuss your goals and options in order to create a strong estate plan you can count on. Contact us today.