With the flood of inexpensive and even free, will planning aides available in this Internet age, the question often arises, “Why should I use an attorney when all I need is a simple will?” The answer is two-fold: there is no such thing as a “simple will” and the only time your will can really prove itself sound is after you can do nothing about it.
No Such Thing as One-Size-Fits-All Estate Plan
Will forms and web sites are good starting points but a good estate-planning attorney is required to ensure your will fits your specific circumstances and needs. Seeing estate planning as a “one size fits all” proposition often proves to be a costly mistake both for the person using a DIY will kit and those left behind. Personal attention and sound legal counseling simply cannot be found in a box or online.
Why So Many Internet Estate Planning Disclaimers?
One popular site, we’ll call it XYZ Wills, for creating your own will carries the following disclaimer: “The information provided in this site is not legal advice, but general information on legal issues commonly encountered. This site is not a law firm and is not a substitute for an attorney. XYZ Wills does not provide legal advice and only provides self-help services as directed by you. XYZ Wills cannot provide any kind of advice, explanation, opinion, or recommendation as to legal rights, remedies, defenses, or legal options.
Most such DIY sites and forms also limit your legal options should there be a dispute concerning your will. In many cases, those limitations include the exclusion of jury trials and class actions.
You Get What you Pay For
As in most things that matter in life, short-term savings often end up costing more in the long term. Very few of us would attempt to perform brain surgery or for that matter risk voiding a warranty by tinkering with the computer brain of any newer car. Planning your will is every bit as important and, at times, more complicated than either.
Ryan C. Young | Richmond, Virginia Attorney | Estate Planning Attorney