The Internet has brought about a fantastic explosion of previously closely held information and do-it-yourself options. You can form your own business, learn how to repair your car, find the best price, and much more thanks to the Internet. And of course, you can create your own estate planning documents for less than $100 in many cases online.
It is true that you could go online and create your own trust or will without an attorney. And if your assets pass accordingly to your loved ones, you will have saved a couple thousand dollars and taken care of your loved ones. The problem is that when things go wrong with the "DIY" option, the cost of errors is several times that of a custom estate plan. Especially because most of the time the problem with the estate planning documents is discovered after the person who created the documents is gone. Remember, everyone who did their own online estate plan or consulted with a non-attorney thought their situation was simple and straightforward. I would be willing to bet dollars to donuts that nobody ever thought, "I could make a mistake here that would cost my loved ones tens of thousands of dollars to fix or cause my assets to go to the wrong people. But I'm going to go ahead with this online trust software anyway." Below are some real life examples of cases I handled where the trust creator either went the DIY route or utilized an attorney who is not a dedicated estate planning lawyer.
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