“If I can use documents online to write a will and other documents, why should I pay a lawyer?”
This is another common question that I hear from potential clients who want to protect their assets and family, but they do not want to hire an attorney to help them prepare the documents. The fact is that there are many websites that advertise low-cost or free estate planning services, including writing a will.
Most Americans do not have a will or an estate plan; therefore, the owners of these websites are trying to convince these individuals they need a will but they do not have to pay much for it. Unfortunately, some families will realize too late that the documents their loved one signed are not valid or create a huge mess.
Using a Website to Write a Will
One of the main problems with websites that advertise low-cost wills is that the documents try to cover all 50 states. Estate law varies from state to state; therefore, a one-fits-all form cannot cover the laws in all states. If the website does not research the laws in all 50 states and does not tailor the documents and instructions to each specific state’s law, you may receive a document that is not valid. For example, we just reviewed a medical power of attorney a client had done themself and it lacked key acceptance language and was therefore invalid according to Michigan law.
Therefore, when you die, it will be as if you have no will. The intestate laws in Michigan will govern your estate — the state decides who receives your property and who is named as your child’s guardian, not you. It is not worth the risk — it is better to hire an experienced estate planning attorney to prepare your will and estate plan. You know it will be correct, and your family will be taken care of after your death. It is about peace of mind.
A Comprehensive Estate Plan for South-East Michigan Families
If you cannot trust a website to get a will correct, you certain cannot trust it to give you advice on a comprehensive estate plan. Your estate plan should include several documents to achieve multiple goals. A will only become effective upon your death. You need documents that protect your family and assets in the event you become incapacitated. You need documents that protect minor children and incapacitated persons or person with disabilities. Furthermore, you need documents that allow you to control your health choices even if you are unable to communicate your choices for any reason.
A Michigan estate planning lawyer helps you develop strategies that accomplish all goals by using a variety of documents as part of your estate plan. Because non-attorneys operate many of these websites, you cannot be sure you are receiving competent legal advice. Your future and your family are far too important to risk taking legal advice from anyone but an experienced estate planning attorney.
Are You Ready to Begin Your Estate Plan?
The simple answer to the question is no; you don’t need an attorney to draft a will. However, the answer to the next question is that you definitely want to pay an attorney to help you because you want to ensure your loved ones are taken care of, and you don’t want to leave it to chance. By using an online service, you may actually cost your family more money because they may have to hire an attorney to help them fix the problems with the estate. Furthermore, it could take much longer to probate your estate because the documents are not valid or do not address all issues.
Call The Elder Care Firm of Christopher J. Berry, CELA For More Information
Contact our office by calling 888-390-4360 or use our online contact form to request more information or schedule an appointment with our Michigan estate planning lawyer. Our top priority is helping you create a plan that will accomplish each one of your goals. Because our attorneys are local, they understand Michigan probate laws, and they will draft documents that you can trust are complete and legal.