SHOULD I PLAN MY ESTATE ELECTRONICALLY OR WITH AN ATTORNEY?

When it comes to planning your estate, many people wonder if using software or an online service will be more beneficial. They may assume it is more convenient, less expensive and simple to use. But the truth is there are many downfalls to using inexpensive electronic services due to the many complexities that come with planning the division of an individual’s assets following their death.

First off, an estate planning attorney has a wealth of experience and a strong understanding of the law. They have seen the family feuds and long, drawn-out law suits involving an estate.  This insight in very valuable experience when it comes to helping you prepare your estate planning documents. The attorney works to save your family money, including taxes, probate and other costs upon your death. Electronic services however, can only assist you to the extent to which they were programmed. These online services cannot give legal advice, because they are not attorneys. They are unable to think outside “the box” and anticipate potential problems that may arise after you are gone.  Therefore they cannot provide dependable, real time assistance to individuals with unique situations independent of a human being.

With an estate planning attorney, personal consultation, on the phone or in person, is always available. Unlike electronic services that are preprogrammed with “canned responses” for certain scenarios, an attorney can provide clients with advice on important estate divisions specific to their situation.

Like most important things, estate planning is not a “one-and-done” type of thing. You should review your Will, Tryst and other estate planning documents periodically to make sure they are current. Sometimes, with people getting older or passing away, you may find the need to change your estate planning.  Making revisions to your documentation down the road to reflect any future changes in the law or tax code will be a challenge when using Internet services or estate planning software. With estate planning software, you may not be made aware that something is incorrect until it is too late! However, a reputable estate planning attorney will periodically notify you of such changes in the law and how they might affect your estate plan.

Although electronic estate planning services might seem like an ideal option, the truth is they simply cannot provide the quality representation and personal service of an attorney.

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