Most people would prefer to avoid paying for the services of an attorney, if they can avoid doing so. This is true even in estate planning.
Many people think they have straightforward desires regarding who should get their assets after they pass away. As a result, they do a little bit of research and may download a form or two to guide them. After a few hours, they have something that constitutes an estate plan and think they have saved money.
The problem is that estates normally are not quite as straightforward as non-attorneys assume. The South Bend Tribune recently discussed this in “You can do your own estate plan, but should you?”
One example discussed is a situation where a man thought he could make his own estate plan, but it ended up a complicated mess after he passed away because he did not consider how his family would get liquid assets when they needed them. Since the estate is worth $12 million, it will cost far more in attorney’s fees to sort out everything in the estate than it would have for an attorney to prepare the plan he truly needed.
Some people suggest that instead of doing everything on your own, it would be a good idea to use an online service for estate planning. With those services, you can get some basic questions and answers to consider and they are cheaper than attorneys. The problem is that it still does not give you the personal attention estate planning requires.
In the end, you might lack the knowledge to answer any questions in the best way for your estate. There is no good substitute for an estate planning attorney. The cost of the wrong planning tools may be higher than you expect.
Reference: South Bend Tribune (Feb. 6, 2018) “You can do your own estate plan, but should you?“