Estate Planning Attorney vs Using an Online Template
Feb. 7, 2024
Estate planning is so much more than choosing who gets what when we pass away. It's about creating a comprehensive plan for our assets, healthcare, and end-of-life decisions. With so much at stake, it's important to carefully consider how we want to approach estate planning. One question we hear a lot is: "Can I just use an online form for my estate planning?"
While our gut instinct is to answer no, the answer isn't as straightforward as you might think. Everyone's situation is unique, and it's our belief that your estate planning should be too.
Why Consider an Attorney?
When you work with an attorney, you're not just getting a legal expert—you're getting a partner who'll work with you to understand your specific needs and goals. We take time to get to know you and your family, and that personal touch makes all the difference.
Attorneys can provide guidance and clarity in complex situations, such as blended families, large estates, or when you have specific wishes for how your assets should be handled. They can also help ensure your documents are legally valid and enforceable, giving you peace of mind.
What About Online Forms?
Do-it-yourself (DIY) estate planning refers to the act of creating your estate plan using online tools and resources, often via forms or templates. This approach is designed to be user-friendly and cost-effective. Many people opt for DIY estate planning because it allows them to accomplish basic estate planning tasks without the need for a lawyer's intervention.
We understand this, and we can't deny their convenience (or cost-effectiveness).
However, it's important to note that while DIY estate planning may seem straightforward, it carries certain risks. The simplicity of filling out an online form can be deceiving, as it may not capture the complexities of your individual situation or your state's laws. As a result, DIY estate planning may not provide the most comprehensive or legally sound approach to securing your assets and wishes.
Remember, estate planning isn't just about filling out forms—it's about making informed decisions for your future. So if you don't feel confident in doing that on your own, it's definitely worth considering working with an attorney.
Do I Even Need an Estate Plan?
Yes. Everyone needs an estate plan, no matter the size nor complexity of your estate. Without one, your assets could end up in the hands of people you don't trust, and your loved ones may face a lengthy and expensive legal process to settle your affairs.
Still not convinced? Here are a few other things an estate plan can do for you:
Protect your family from unnecessary taxes.
Appoint a guardian for your children.
Leave assets to charity or other organizations you care about.
Attorney vs. Online Forms: Making the Right Decision
So, attorney or online forms? Ultimately, the choice depends on your individual situation. However, working with an attorney provides a more comprehensive, personalized approach to estate planning, which is an investment that will only benefit you and your loved ones in the long run.
You should definitely hire an attorney if any of the following applies to you:
You have a complex family structure.
You have a large estate with multiple assets.
You won a business.
You want to ensure your wishes are accurately reflected in legal documents.
You have concerns about guardianship.
You want an estate plan that involves multiple documents, not just a will.
You want peace of mind knowing your estate plan is legally valid and enforceable.
On the other hand, DIY estate planning could be the better option if you:
Only need/want a will.
Have a smaller estate with fewer assets.
Don't have any dependents or beneficiaries.
Know exactly who you want to serve as guardian of your children.
Ultimately, the decision comes down to what you feel is best for your unique situation. It's always recommended to seek professional advice when it comes to something as important as your estate planning. Even if cost is your main concern, we still recommend at least scheduling a free consultation with an attorney. Simply getting their opinion or stamp of approval on your approach can provide invaluable peace of mind.
Attorneys Who Can Make a Difference
If you're located in North Haven, Connecticut or throughout New Haven County, and you're considering your options for estate planning, we're here to help. At DeChello Law Firm LLC, we're committed to providing personalized attention and a client-centered approach. Let's work together to create an estate plan that truly reflects your wishes.
Remember, we want to help your estate plan be as unique as you are. If you're ready to discuss your options, reach out to us today, and let’s start the conversation about your future.