Can you prepare your own estate planning documents (i.e. Healthcare Power of Attorney, Financial Power of Attorney, Will, Trust)? Yes you can, but the question is should you do this?
Anyone can find anything on the internet nowadays and “services” such as Legal Zoom and others appear to make it even easier to DIY your estate plan. When you create an estate plan, you are making critical decisions regarding who will decide what medical treatment you receive, who will have access to your money, who will take care of your children when you pass and who will receive your life-time savings when you pass? How do you know the DIY estate plan you have created is correct? Have you considered all of the pros and cons of your decision?
When I meet with clients to prepare their estate plan, they often remark, “well, I didn’t think of that”. What factors need to be considered when choosing your child’s guardian? Is it wise to automatically choose your oldest child as your power of attorney? What are the pros and cons of co-powers of attorney? What if your selected power of attorney cannot serve? What are some options to provide your children with their inheritance, but keep them from squandering it?
The most important part of creating an estate plan is proper consideration of your options and making sound decisions. Failure to make a good decision can result in discord among family members, mismanagement of assets, at best, and court lawsuits and stealing of assets, at worst.
As tempting as it is to just DIY your estate plan, with such important decisions at stake, it is imperative that you use qualified legal counsel to assist you. This is especially true since once a deficiency is found in your estate plan, it may be too late to make changes.