The Trouble with Online Estate Plans

August 2017

In this day and age, many people choose to turn to Google for medical, business, and even legal advice. This “advice” can even take the shape of legal documents and blank legal forms, including estate planning forms.

The problem with online estate planning forms? They do not consider your needs and your desires. You may think that your estate is relatively simple, but even the simplest estates can benefit from creativity within your planning. This can include wills, revocable living trusts, irrevocable life insurance trusts, charitable trusts, family limited partnerships, special/supplemental needs trusts, powers of attorney, and health care directives.

In addition, these online forms do not plan specifically for YOUR estate (or trust) administration. Having an attorney draft your specific plan in contemplation of administrative objectives ensures overall success. Professionals can help ease the pain and complexity of these situations by assisting trustees in trust management, administration or distribution, representation in the probate process, or any variety of complex situations that may arise in trust and estate administration.

Finally, the most significant complaint we hear regarding online or do-it-yourself planning is uncertainty. Many people are unsure whether the planning documents were draft properly relative to state statute, executed properly or whether their assets have been tailored properly to the planning documents.

If you have drafted your will online, don’t fret, you are able to update your will or revocable trust. FMJ’s Trusts & Estates attorneys are able to review it and make suggestions based on your estate planning needs.

This post was written by Trusts & Estates attorney David Ness.  If you have any questions or would like to discuss your estate planning options, contact David at