In today’s electronic age it is possible to find just about anything on the internet, including legal forms. You may be tempted to use “Do-It-Yourself”, or DIY, estate planning forms you have come across on the internet in an effort to save money and/or time. The money and time you save by using these forms, however, could cost your loved ones much more time and money down the road. Once you have a better understanding of why you should not depend on DIY estate planning forms you will hopefully make the decision to consult with an experienced Missouri estate planning attorney when you decide to get started on your estate plan.
Your estate plan should do much more than simply decide who will receive which assets when you die. A comprehensive estate plan can also accomplish things such as incapacity planning, asset protection, and probate avoidance. Whether your estate plan is simple or complex, the success of the plan depends on the quality and accuracy of the documents you include in the plan. Using DIY forms you found on the internet or at a local stationary store could actually be worse than not completing any estate planning forms because there is an increased likelihood of litigation. Among the many reasons why you should not use DIY forms are:
Outdated information – laws relating to wills, trusts, and estates are subject to change at any time – and do change frequently. Using a form that does not take the current law into account is essentially the same as not using a form at all because the document will likely not stand up in court when the time comes.
Not state specific – matters relating to wills, trusts, and estates are largely governed by state law. Generic DIY forms, however, often lack state specific information and/or language.
No instructions – while a form might come with some instructions, there is no possible way for a form to provide you with actual legal advice. In fact, the form likely indicates that the company making the form is not giving you legal advice.
No cohesive plan – estate planning goals and objectives work together to form a comprehensive plan. Only an experienced attorney can look at your goals and objectives and decide which documents you need to achieve them.
If you have additional questions or concerns about estate planning, contact the experienced Missouri estate planning attorneys at Amen, Gantner & Capriano, Your Estate Matters, LLC by calling (314) 966-8077 to schedule an appointment.