Should You Do It Yourself?

There is a proliferation of “Do It Yourself” software allowing individuals the opportunity to prepare their own estate planning documents.  I am often asked why someone should pay the cost of having an attorney prepare an estate plan instead utilizing the DIY method.  The answer is simple – you get what you pay for.   And frankly it actually costs the individual or the estate more money for me to clean up the messes created when people try to do it themselves.  A recent Consumer Reports article looking at three of the more recognized brands in this area stated: “All three are better than nothing if you have no will. But unless your needs are very simple—say, you want to leave everything to your spouse with no other provisions—none of them is likely to meet your needs. And we found problems with all three . . . .”  The full article can be found here: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/money/retirement-planning/write-your-own-will/overview/index.htm.So DIY may work, but there is a better chance it won’t.  What will work is a plan that is custom made for you by a competent attorney.  The plan will take into account your individual circumstances and needs and ensure the distribution of assets in the manner you desire.