The Internet has made information more widely available than ever before. Online services also make it possible for many people to complete certain tasks and projects on their own–or at least, with a minimum of third-party assistance. Some companies have even gained popularity offering “do-it-yourself” legal services that purportedly allow you to make your own will or estate plan.
Is this really the best option for you and your family? While many people turn to DIY solutions because they think they are cheaper, estate planning is not the best place to look for discount providers who offer limited services. It is really not something you should try to do without professional assistance.
Keep this in mind: A will is not like a home renovation project. For example, let’s say you have a leaky faucet in your house. You might decide to try and fix it yourself, despite the fact you have no plumbing experience. In the worst-case scenario, you bust a pipe and need to call a plumber to deal with your flooded bathroom. If you make your own will and there is a problem with the document, odds are the mistake will not be discovered until after you are dead. At that point, the problem may not be fixable.
Here are some other things to consider before opting for a DIY estate planning service:
There is No Accountability
There are a number of companies that offer ready-made online estate planning forms. These companies do not offer legal advice. In other words, by using these services you are not entering into an attorney-client relationship. Among other things, this means the company is not accountable to you if something goes wrong. Sure, you can leave a nasty review on Google or even complain to your local government. But ultimately, the burden is on you when using these services.
In contrast, when you work with a qualified Madison estate planning attorney, you are dealing with someone who is obligated to follow certain rules of professional ethics. Your attorney cannot ignore your calls or give you bad advice and then tell you, “Sorry, you are on own.”
There is No Guarantee of Quality
Estate planning documents are not an impulse purchase, like that candy bar you bought in the supermarket checkout line. In many cases, your estate planning documents will not be used for several years. In practice, it may be necessary to amend or revise your will as laws and the circumstances of your own life change.
To put it bluntly, with pre-made online forms there is no guarantee of quality. You have no way of knowing if the forms are current with the applicable laws of Wisconsin. The forms are certainly not tailored to your unique estate planning needs. They may cost less than hiring an attorney–but remember, you get what you pay for.
Get Help from a Wisconsin Probate and Estate Planning Attorney
The estate lawyers of Krause Donovan Estate Law Partners, LLC practice law in the areas of Probate, Wills, Estate Planning, and Trusts. We assist clients in and around Madison, Wisconsin with all matters related to estate planning, trusts, and probate matters. Our dedicated attorneys will even make house calls if you are unable to come to our office.
To attend a free estate planning workshop or to receive our client planner to assess your estate planning mindset, contact our office by calling (608) 268-5751 or use our online contact form.