We understand, and share, your desire to be cost-effective. So, when you see websites that prepare Wills at a fraction of the cost of an attorney, we get the temptation. However, this is not an area where you want to be tightfisted. 

 Using online services for your estate planning needs will almost always cost you and your loved ones significantly more money and headaches down the road (if the court will accept them in the first place – they often won’t).

Below are some of the main reasons why you should strongly avoid preparing Estate Planning documents online, and instead hire an experienced Trusts & Estates attorney to prepare your documents.

  1. Your Circumstances are Unique.

Online legal services are designed to provide “cookie-cutter” documents, but that’s not useful for most people as everyone has unique circumstances. Even if your assets are not substantial, there are many ways your circumstances affect the makeup of your documents. Those in particular who should NEVER consider creating their Estate Plans online include: 1) families with minor children/grandchildren, 2) families with loved ones who have special needs, 3) anyone looking to disinherit family members, or 4) blended families.

  1. Unintended Consequences.

Families who have loved ones with special needs must take extra precaution when drafting Estate Plans, as disability benefits come with very strict rules. Your loved one will be disqualified when proper precautions are not taken. Online services almost always fail to make proper arrangements for special needs planning, by either failing to ask about them or including ineffective language.

  1. Improperly Created & Unfunded Trusts.

Revocable Living Trusts are an integral part of Estate Planning to manage your assets during periods of incapacity and also avoid Probate. Your online Trust will fail if not properly funded, resulting in assets potentially being tied up in the lengthy and expensive Probate process. A knowledgeable Estate Planning attorney will learn about your unique assets, and give specific instructions to ensure your Trust is properly funded. 

  1. Changing Laws and Regulations

Each state has laws that require specific language – leaving that language out can result in serious consequences. To make matters worse, state and federal laws change constantly. An experienced local attorney will draft documents in accordance with current law to avoid any catastrophic mistakes.

While online documents may seem to offer savings, in reality they will almost always cost you and your loved ones far more money in the long run.

If you are a Maryland or Virginia resident and would like help with protecting your assets and loved ones in the event of death or disability, please call us at 301-696-0567 or self-schedule at lenaclarklegal.com.