There is no shame in wanting to save money whenever possible. Frugality may be what has allowed you to acquire the substantial assets you have in your estate. Since you have taken such care to save and manage your assets, it only makes sense that you would want to prepare your estate for your heirs after you pass on.
You may still wish to practice frugality by taking the least expensive route for making your estate plan. This may include using a do-it-yourself estate planning software or website. While these options will certainly save you some money, they may also cost your heirs dearly.
You get what you pay for
Online DIY estate planning may seem attractive to those who are concerned about the cost of seeking professional help with their wills or trusts. Do-it-yourself plans also allow you to create your documents in private without having to discuss your wishes with someone else. Estate planning deals with delicate and perhaps frightening issues, and it may not be easy to share these matters face to face. Nevertheless, there are some risks you take with a do-it-yourself estate plan, for example:
- Unless you have estate planning experience, you may not know what is most appropriate for your circumstances. A professional can guide you in making suitable choices.
- An online estate plan may not include some elements that may be critical for your situation, or the company may charge you extra for those items.
- Online estate planning documents are intentionally general in their terms so they can apply to many states. However, they may be so generic that they fail to comply with North Carolina's laws.
- If your online estate plan does not comply with state laws or has other improprieties, your heirs will be the ones dealing with the fallout. This may include expensive and time-consuming litigation that could also create painful rifts between your loved ones.
- Most online estate planning companies offer no legal assistance, or they may provide limited contact with an estate planning professional for a higher fee.
Unfortunately, you may not even know what questions to ask. Working through your estate plan on your own may feel like walking in the dark. On the other hand, an experienced and compassionate attorney can take you through the process step by step, including drafting a power of attorney, funding assets to your trust and including any provisions for the unique dynamic of your family.