Why using online forms for your estate plan makes very little sense
Hi. I’m Jordan Flake. I’m an attorney with Clear Counsel Law Group. I do a lot of estate planning, and one really popular question that we get is, “Mr. Flake, we could do this a lot cheaper by going online, and downloading legal forms, and just using those instead of hiring an attorney.” Oftentimes when I confront this issue, I will jokingly respond that the online forms for estate planning are actually really good, because if you’re lost in the wilderness you can use them to start a fire, you can use them for making paper airplanes. They’re not entirely without their use. That being said, I would still say as an estate planning attorney that online forms are better than nothing. If that’s all you want to do, and that’s all the whole level of estate planning that you want, more power to you.
In our estate planning practice we help people estate plan, but we also resolve what I would call estate planning disputes after people pass away. We look at wills, and trusts that are heavily contested. Of the wills, and trusts, and estate planning documents that are heavily contested I can tell you that the majority of those have been because they were not lawyer drafted. In other words, I would say seven or eight times out of ten, the estate plan documents that are in dispute were drafted by maybe a financial advisor, maybe by the deceased individual themselves, maybe they were pulled offline, or purchased at a bookstore and filled out. The real question that you need to ask yourself is, “Are my assets enough, and is everything I’ve accumulated enough, and is my interest in making sure things happen smoothly enough to warrant the expense of hiring an attorney to correctly prepare my estate planning documents?” Most of the time I feel if you sincerely ask yourself that question you’ll realize, “Yeah, absolutely. This is worth getting right.”
Now the online forms are not always going to be wrong. There’s a lot of times that I’m sure it works out just fine. You shouldn’t gamble with something as big as all of the assets that you’ve accumulated. You shouldn’t gamble with what your wishes are. You shouldn’t gamble with whether or not these documents are actually valid and enforceable. Especially when Clear Counsel Law Group has … We’ve really tried to be optimized to the point that we can be very inexpensive, and make estate planning very affordable for everyone. We offer a high quality product at the lower end of the marketplace in terms of cost. Under all circumstances I’m more than happy to sit down with you for a complimentary consultation, so that we can just give you our take on your estate planning options, and really then put the ball in your court just to decide what’s best for you. Love to have you give me a call, so we can help you out.