There are a number of platforms on the web that purport to provide everything anyone needs to do a DIY Estate Plan. But how effective are those platforms really? It should not surprise you that as an estate planning attorney I believe that these platforms are dangerous to the unwitting. I have reviewed and completely redrafted DIY estate plans that would have created havoc upon the estate and family if those plans had ever had to be administered.
The DIY platforms ask questions to be answered. It cannot tell you the consequences of the answer provided or alternatives depending on the answer. The path for the plan is picked based upon your answer. How can a lay person be sure it is the best plan? The bottom line is that unless you know and understand estate planning and the Probate Code you have no idea what the consequences are for the answers and decisions that have been made. You do not know what you do not know.
As an Estate Planning Attorney, I make sure that my client’s know the consequences of their decisions as well as all of the options that are available. I think outside the “platform box” to provide unique plans that specifically meet my client’s goals and objectives. My clients know the decisions they are making and understand how those decisions will effect their family. My clients know that they are saving money in the long run.
So the question really is how much is it worth to make sure that your estate plan is done right, represents your desires and goals, and will help your family through their grief? The DIY platforms cost a little less than a third of the cost for an attorney to draft your plan, but can cost way more in costs to administer.
Bottom line: DIY plans are penny wise but pound foolish.