Creating your estate plan online can seem like an awesome alternative to sitting in an attorneys office. There are available do-it-yourself plans ranging from free to a few hundred bucks. What’s not to love? Seems easy right? Well, Before you click that buy button, read the terms and conditions, as well as any other contracts with a required signature before you sign up.
A lot of online “estate planning” companies have great selling points, but once you read into the details they didn’t tell you up front, you just might change your mind about using their products.
1. 3rd Party Attorneys
If an online company offers you access to an attorney – chances are they’re supplying a 3rd party attorney. The company offering their services has never met them, nor do they take any responsibility for the legal advice these 3rd parties might give you.
2. Inadequate Questionnaires
Is filling out an online questionnaire to create your estate planning documents really going to cover every vital and personal detail of your life? Estate Planning is a complex process. Your life is important and elaborate, and the details can’t be covered with a brief questionnaire. Do you really want to take the chance of leaving something out?
3. One Time Payment? Check the Small Print…
Many of these online planning services intentionally make it seem like they’ll only charge you a small one time fee. Although, if you read the small print, you will often note additional fees as well as recurring fees that you might be unknowingly signing up for.
4. Limited Unlimited Updates
A lot of the advertising on online estate planning sites is misleading. The one we see most often is the offer of free or unlimited updates. When you read the fine print, you will see that this is usually only for a limited time, and once that period is up you will be paying hundreds for small updates.
5. Unauthorized Practice of Law
There is a fine line between what these online companies offer, and illegally giving legal advice. Do you really want to work with a company that doesn’t specialize in estate planning and may be giving you illegal tips?
6. Read the Terms and Conditions
If the above reasons have not convinced you to steer clear of the online estate planning process, go to one of the websites and read the terms and conditions for yourself. What you will likely find is that these companies refuse all responsibility for your documents and any advice you receive from them. Now that’s scary.
If you’re ready to begin the estate planning process, you should get to work with a local estate planning attorney. Here at Smith Barid, we’re focused in estate planning. We take the time to listen to all of your needs and uncover any details that might have been missed. Last but not least, we are proud to take credit for the work we do. Schedule an appointment online or call us today and start planning: 912-352-3999