DIY Estate Planning?

DIY Estate PlanningIn the age of the Internet and easy access to technologies that were in the past reserved for specific professions, it’s tempting to take on tasks you’d originally divvy out to professionals and handle them yourself. Yet the age of the Internet comes with many paradoxes—while things may seem easier, the ease can often lead to greater problems down the road. This is true with filing bankruptcy, divorce, and when it comes to planning your estate. According to Forbes magazine, “there’s a reason why your bookstore’s shelves are filled with books about bicycle repair and how to build a deck, but there is no Home Surgery for Dummies. Some things are better left to the professionals.” And estate planning is just one of these things.

According to Forbes, the American Bar Association examined several DIY estate-planning services, “and found deficiencies with the potential for disastrous results.” Not only could you end up with an outcome that you didn’t count on, you could actually end up costing your family more money in the long run, “due to disputes over an improperly drafted will.” A different Forbes article relays the story about a Florida woman who had “a guy (not a lawyer) in her condo building write her will. He worded it in such a way that her estate lost ‘homestead protection’.” This small mistake resulted, after her death, in her kids having to wait 90 days to sell her condo, which, in a failing housing market, was 90 days of significant value lost.

DIY estate planning also runs the risk of not being properly accredited—“for instance a will signed without the required witnesses”—which can end up being challenged in court. If you’re ready to begin drafting your estate plan, the most important first step is to seek the counsel of a qualified attorney. We can help you figure out where costs can be saved and where it’s not worth cutting corners. Don’t go through it alone. Contact a dedicated Illinois estate-planning lawyer today.

Image courtesy of Sujin Jetkasettakorn /