We are seeing more and more problems with Internet or software documents or documents prepared by self-proclaimed “estate planners.” The specific problem occurring again and again is that the documents inadequately cover the “what ifs” in life.
In many respects estate planning is an attempt to see into the future. Since most of us are unable to do that, we need to imagine every possible future scenario and then plan for it in writing. The best person to draft all the “what if” scenarios and solutions is the person who has contemplated and experienced for decades all the “what ifs” possible: that is, an experienced probate/estate planning attorney.
As noted elsewhere, the AARP conducted a survey of attorneys in two states (California and Idaho) and found that one percent (1%) had a competent working knowledge of estate planning. That mean that even attorneys–99% of them–do not understand estate planning law. Just because someone is an attorney (or paralegal or certified estate planner) does not qualify them to draft a will.
It is a sad and ironic fact that some people, in their rush to avoid attorneys, often guarantee that their heirs will have to deal with attorneys. In their insistence to spend as little as possible (by using internet planning or cheap “estate planners”) they actually create a host of legal problems, which end up being resolved by attorneys at many times the cost of doing things right from the beginning.
Retaining qualified professionals formally trained in law, with (1) extensive real-life experience in probate litigation and (2) “asset ownership and transfer law” is unquestionably the safest, most efficient, most cost-effective, and intelligent estate planning decision you will make.
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