09/18/2012 02:33:00 PM EST
Do-It-Yourself Estate Plans: Saving Money or Throwing it Away?
I often warn readers about the dangers of using do-it-yourself websites and pre-printed forms to create wills and trust. Experienced estate planning lawyers do more than put together a pile of papers for you to sign and take home: We offer individualized advice and continuing guidance that obviously cannot be matched by multiple-choice, mix-or-match forms.
The unintended consequences of relying on simplistic forms can create untold stress and expense for you and your family going forward. You may feel like you're saving money now, but you may actually be throwing it away in the long run. And isn't your estate plan all about making wise choices for the long run?
But don't take MY word for it. Check out the following:
A report in objective Consumer Reports. The title of this Sept. 2012 article says it all: "Legal DIY websites are no match for a pro -They provide services for a fraction of what you'd pay a lawyer." Read the article here.
Second, here's information right from the horse's mouth -a verbatim excerpt from the terms of conditions of usage on one popular legal do-it-yourself legal website, Rocketlawyer:
RocketLawyer.com is not a law firm, and the employees of RocketLawyer.com are not acting as your attorney. RocketLawyer.com does not practice law and does not give legal advice. This site is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship, and by using RocketLawyer.com, no attorney-client relationship will be created with RocketLawyer.com. Instead, you are representing yourself in any legal matter you undertake through RocketLawyer.com's legal document service. The RocketLawyer.com web site is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.
Furthermore, the legal information on this site is not legal advice and is not guaranteed to be correct, complete or up-to-date. Because the law changes rapidly, RocketLawyer.com cannot guarantee that all the information on the site is completely current. The law is different from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and is also subject to interpretation by different courts. The law is a personal matter, and no general information or legal tool like the kind RocketLawyer.com provides can fit every circumstance. Therefore, if you need legal advice for your specific problem, or if your specific problem is too complex to be addressed by our tools, you should consult a licensed attorney in your area.
RocketLawyer.com is not responsible for any loss, injury, claim, liability, or damage related to your use of this site or any site linked to this site, whether from errors or omissions in the content of our site or any other linked sites, from the site being down or from any other use of the site. In short, your use of the site is at your own risk.
Doesn't exactly inspire confidence, does it? Make sure you're not throwing away your money: Let a flesh-and-blood, experienced estate planning attorney provide you with the peace of mind you and your family deserve.
Attorney Joseph S. Karp is a
Florida Bar Certified and Nationally Certified Elder Law Attorney focusing on
Elder Law, Probate, Estate Planning, Asset Protection, Special Needs Planning
and Estate Litigation. He is AV rated by Martindale Hubbell. Mr. Karp is the
founder of The Karp Law Firm, a South Florida law firm with offices in Palm
Beach Gardens, Boynton Beach and St. Lucie, Florida. Mr. Karp was named a
2011 SuperLawyer by SuperLawyer Magazine and a member of the 2011
Florida Legal Elite by Florida Trend Magazine. He is admitted to
practice law in New York as well as Florida. Visit Mr. Karp's Florida Elder Law and Estate Planning
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