In today’s world, most anything can be obtained online. You find out about most world events almost instantly. You can do everything from buying your groceries to learning how to fix your plumbing. Just because you can find most anything online does not mean you should rely on all do-it-yourself products found on the internet. As COVID-19 has swept our country many people have turned to online resources to create an estate plan with an urgency to have something in place.


While taking this route may seem easy and inexpensive There are multiple things to consider:

  • Will it create the security needed for your loved ones?
  • Will it follow the laws of your state?
  • Will it capture the nuance that estate planning attorneys have spent years learning and perfecting?


Security for Loved Ones


Many online estate planning sites offer users the opportunity to create a way to dispose of their assets at death, typically in the form of a Last Will and Testament. While this document will let your loved ones know your last wishes, it may not cover a situation in which you are injured and unable to act on your own behalf or it may not provide the proper structure for the care and financial maintenance of minor children. In these instances, the court will have to appoint a guardian for you, and it may not be someone who would have been your first choice.


Following the Laws of Your State


If you do not have the correct documents in place or your documents do not follow the laws of your state of residence there could be unforeseen complications and your online savings could cost the beneficiaries of your estate both time and money. Once a document is rejected, it is usually too late to correct it. This rejected document no longer gives direction about your assets and your estate will be administered as if you did not have a will following state statute.


Expertise of an Attorney


Do-it-yourself estate plans are, as the title implies, drafted by you, reviewed by you, and executed by you. There is no estate planning software that will tell you if this plan makes sense. It will not address future circumstances; it may not address the direction of your estate if you are on your second marriage and have children from your first marriage. What if you and your spouse pass at the same time, how are your minor children to be cared for and will their inheritance pass outright to them at 18 or will it be held in trust? If it is held in trust, who will be their guardian? These and many other questions and concerns will be addressed by an estate planning attorney, someone who has familiarity with state laws and addresses current and future circumstances.


If you think utilizing an online approach is the best answer because it is cheap, consider the cost that may occur for you loved ones when they have to unravel the documents you found online that state what happens to your "stuff" but were not executed correctly. Consider the benefit and expertise of an attorney to address your unique situation. To learn more, contact a Boulay advisor at 952.893.9320 or and ask about our estate and trust services.