Should I use an online DIY site for estate planning?

| Nov 30, 2019 | estate planning | 0 comments

In today’s technological age, there is an app for anything. Estate planning in California is no exception. A quick search online can take you to a number of websites and apps that promise to help you create an estate plan. This allegedly wraps up all your financial affairs easily and inexpensively. For many people, especially those who are older or chronically ill, this may sound like a godsend. It rarely is.

The problem with using an app to tie up any loose ends is that you do not get to work it out if things do not go as planned later on. It is your beneficiaries who may need to grapple with typos, missing documents or wishes that they cannot legally enforce. This may lead to family members challenging the will as well as family feuds over exactly how things should get divided after all.

Expensive mistakes

One Forbes article warns that using these DIY companies can lead to costly and unpleasant mistakes in the end. After reviewing some of these platforms, the author of the article found that the websites and apps rarely offered personal or professional advice to people who may need answers or have more complex cases. Instead, the platforms focused on marketing a one-size-fits-all solution.

A lack of features

The more complex a person’s situation may prove to be, the more inadequate online services are. Here are some factors that may complicate the estate planning process:

  • Wishing to disown a spouse or child
  • Owning property in multiple states
  • Paying spousal support to an ex
  • Multiple income streams
  • Blended families

Another big shortcoming of these websites is that many focus primarily on creating a will. However, wills are just one of four important estate planning documents. The other three include a trust, a medical directive or living will and a power of attorney.

Families members need all four documents for more than just dividing up assets. Note that should you ever become incapacitated for any reason, the medical directive and power of attorney allow chosen, trusted individuals to make decisions on your behalf.