DIY Estate Planning

The Cost of a Do-It-Yourself Will

April 9, 2014

I have written before about the risks of do-it-yourself estate planning and explained how people who use do-it-yourself solutions end up with a false sense of security. They create documents that they believe will address their needs but wind up being ineffective and ultimately more costly than what an attorney would have charged to draft […]

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If Lawyers Aren’t Perfect, Why Isn’t a Document Preparation Service Good Enough?

February 6, 2013

A reader recently submitted a comment to my article titled “LegalZoom vs. Lawyer: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You.” This reader’s view of lawyers had been shaped by his experience in a protracted divorce proceeding, so needless to say, it was not positive. The main gist of his comment was that the legal profession […]

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A Holographic Will That Worked…But At What Cost?

September 17, 2012

After reading a post I had written on the risks of do-it-yourself estate planning, a skeptical reader commented that his friend’s situation contradicted my article. His friend had written a will on a paper towel leaving his entire estate to his girlfriend. His friend’s ex-wife and three children contested the will to no avail. Despite […]

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Why Do People Use Lawyers To Prepare Their Wills?

June 6, 2011

“Why do people use lawyers to prepare their wills?” a client asked me a couple of weeks ago. “I don’t have a lot of stuff and I was wondering whether I could buy the forms at Office Depot.” It’s a valid question. After all, Office Depot sells will preparation software for $69.95, less than the […]

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LegalZoom vs. Lawyer: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You

May 24, 2010

LegalZoom and other do-it-yourself document preparation services want you to believe that the process of preparing a will is as easy as filling in the blanks on standardized forms. They try to lure you with a cheap product and a process that takes less than half an hour to complete. They try to assure you […]

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Do-It-Yourself Estate Planning Mistake Disinherits Child

April 14, 2010

My daughter recently brought a book home from school titled “Separate Ways.” It’s a story about a husband and wife who are having marital difficulties, and their two children who are dealing with anxiety caused by the conflict. In the book, the parents eventually decide to divorce but reassure their children that the divorce will […]

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