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Beware: DIY Estate Planning Documents

Dozens of Internet websites advertise the simplicity of drafting legal documents without a lawyer. However, one size doesn't fit all when it comes to estate planning. Do It Yourself (DIY) programs claim to save you money by cutting out high-priced legal fees, but they almost universally fail to account for unique circumstances and often contain many errors as well.

Too often people who use a DIY estate planning kit end up paying more for a lawyer to correct mistakes, or the mistakes are discovered too late for anyone to correct them. 

DIY documents give you a false sense of security

DIY estate planning kits fall short on several fronts. Despite their claims, DIY kits:

  • Generally disregard specific laws that can radically affect your estate
  • May not address specific issues that a consultation with an attorney could resolve
  • May misrepresent your intent
  • May use language that communicates an entirely different meaning than what you are led to believe
  • Cannot ensure that your documents comply with the necessary formalities for execution, such as signatures being witnessed

Many such matters get hung up in court because of ambiguous language, and will contests often succeed when testators did not have the capacity to sign or based on other grounds that are rarely a concern when lawyers are involved in the estate planning process. Note that the expense of fixing estate plan errors may far exceed the cost of creating one.

There is no replacement for an experienced and knowledgeable Florida estate planning attorney who understands the ramifications of every provision of your estate planning documents. If you are trying to save time and money, DIY is not an option when it comes to planning for your incapacity and the preservation of your assets for your loved ones.

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