The disadvantages of using online document preparation sites, do-it-yourself books and software programs are numerous. The most serious of which are the following:
- Zero legal assistance.
- Risk of making a serious or strategic mistake that may not be correctable in the future. (Unfortunately, no one can be around to explain what was meant in their will.)
- Failing to address estate tax implications can be financially disastrous to your surviving family.
- “One size fits all forms.” These forms do not have the detail to address all of the issues you may face.
- No experience or knowledge of state and federal law or recent changes in the law which affect the planning process.
Many online document preparation sites lure you in with the premise that you don’t need an attorney to prepare your will, and you can do it yourself for very low cost by using their forms. They also warn you to protect the ones you love.
But are you protecting your loved ones by using a national document fill-in service and doing so without legal review or advice? To be sure, these companies will not have an attorney reviewing your documents.
Just as everyone is different, so too is every will. There is no such thing as “one size fits all” when it comes to making one of the most important legal documents. In the will preparation process, proper planning and drafting requires legal training and experience. Decisions must be made that call for professional care and guidance. Not to mention, changes in the law on a national and state level affect will planning and drafting recommendations. Self-prepared wills often contain language which is confusing and ambiguous, creating problems during the probate process.