For a lot of people in Florida, the idea of making a DIY estate plan is a more appealing prospect then having to pay an experienced estate planning attorney to craft one for you. After all, hiring a lawyer is expensive, and a lot of people think they can save money by creating a DIY estate plan.
There are several problems with this line of thinking. First, having a lawyer help you craft a basic estate plan is probably not nearly as expensive as most people think. Second, and most importantly, creating a DIY estate plan has some serious risks involved with it. Today in our series on basic questions about estate planning, we are going to explore why making a DIY estate plan is not a great idea for most people.
What is a DIY estate plan?
Just as you are under no legal obligation to create any kind of estate plan, you are also not under any legal obligation to have a lawyer help you craft a plan should you choose to make one. You are perfectly free to make whatever estate plan you like without an attorney’s assistance. In fact, there are numerous websites, books, and informational resources available to people who want to craft a DIY estate plan.
Why is making an estate plan on my own bad idea?
There are several reasons why a DIY estate plan is a bad idea. First, anyone making an estate plan has to be sure that the tool(s) they create are legally valid. Any tool you make has to comply with specific laws, and if it fails to do so, it will be effectively useless. If you use a DIY product that doesn’t take into account the laws of the state of Florida, you are essentially wasting your time and your money.
Second even if the DIY guide you have teaches you how to create a legally effective estate planning tool, that doesn’t mean it will be practically effective. What we mean by this is that there is a great difference between a legally enforceable tool and one that fits your individual needs and circumstances. Creating a basic tool is easy, but creating a tool, such as a last will and testament, that meets the specific conditions present at the time you make it, as well as one that is tailored to protect your wishes and individual circumstances, is often far more difficult. The only way to ensure that any estate planning tool you create will be useful and effective for you and your family is to consult with an experienced lawyer.