Don't be "tricked" in your estate planning get a "treat" instead

As an estate planner in Alpharetta GA, I am often asked about do-it yourself estate planning “kits” or DIY estate planning web sites. My biggest fear when clients come to me after considering these kinds of tools is the false sense of security they provide to many people who feel they just want to have “something” in place for when they die.

My concerns were echoed in a recent post by Heather Chubb titled, “Your Current Estate Plan: Trick or Treat?”  In that post she noted: “Online estate plans and document “kits” are all the rage these days.  They typically appeal to people who are looking to save money and at least get something in writing should they pass away. I’ve actually worked with quite a few of such people in my own practice, namely when their DIY plan backfires and fails to protect their loved ones in a true emergency.”

My experience has been the same, including where she commented: “It’s no secret that budget estate plans notoriously fall apart and set well-meaning people up for a nasty TRICK, instead of a treat, when the unthinkable happens.  And the worst part is that it often costs families far more to fix these mistakes than it would have to work with an attorney in the first place.”

As I have also often told my clients, “Remember, the purpose of an estate plan is to make sure that there are no surprises, oversights or loopholes waiting for your loved ones if you should pass away or become incapacitated for any reason. A generic estate planning kit may help you decide who should get what if you die, but will it shield your assets from nursing homes or the state if you ever become disabled and need long-term care?  Will it guarantee that your kids will be raised by the people you want, in a way you want, if the unthinkable happens?  Will it ensure that your hard-earned money is immediately available for your loved ones rather than being tied up for months or even YEARS in the probate court?”

Estate plans are NOT one-size fits all! I work with my clients, and work within their budget, to ensure that they don’t cause their family additional expense, heartache or worry when they are faced by a crisis. I can help you to by ensuring you have a well-thought-out estate plan in place to meet YOUR family’s needs.

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