Beware of Being Penny Wise and Pound Foolish

With the holidays approaching and the economy in crisis, we’re all trying to cut back financially, especially on what we think of as non-essential items. And one of the areas in which people are cutting back, according to this article by Leslie Wimmer, is the area of estate planning. Some people are cutting back by holding off on updates to their existing plans, some by waiting to plan at all, and some people are cutting back by creating their own wills and other legal documents using online legal software.

The thing you just can’t get around when you use an online service is that, as Wimmer quotes in her article, “There’s nobody to answer specific questions, and that’s what a lawyer does, you might have all kinds of issues that, to you, don’t seem notable but to an attorney who practices in this area they might require special attention in your estate plan.”

The problem with using online software is that a website doesn’t explain how estate laws vary in different states, neither can it address your specific needs—especially if you aren’t even aware that you may have specific needs! And worst of all, in some states these software-created documents may not even be legal due to laws stating that only a licensed attorney can create a will for another person.

Choose your estate planning representation wisely, after all, the estate plan is to protect your family when you can no longer be there to protect them yourself.