In today’s digital world, you can find just about anything you want on the internet with a few clicks of your mouse. This means that you can locate “fill-in-the-blank” estate planning documents, or complete estate planning “packages” rather easily online. This often leads people to ask “Can’t I just create my own estate plan?” The answer to that question is that yes, you can, but there are a number of reasons why you may not want to do away with the advice and assistance of an expert estate planning attorney.
Your estate plan should accomplish a number of highly personal, and important, goals. Along with deciding who will receive what assets when you die, your estate plan should plan for your own incapacity and allow your current assets to grow for use by you and your loved ones in the years to come. These are fairly lofty goals—goals that should not depend on fill-in-the-blank forms to succeed.
Whether you have a modest estate or a complex portfolio, your estate plan documents must be drafted perfectly and cohesively for your plan to work when it needs to work. A single mistake in any of the documents that make up your estate plan could spell catastrophe for the entire plan. Your spouse could be left without much needed assets, children without a guardian, or your entire estate left in limbo when you suddenly become incapacitated. Because a computer program cannot sit down with you and ask all the right questions, much less give you all the right answers, you have to ask yourself not “Can I create my own estate plan?” but “Should I create my own estate plan?”