D-I-Y Estate Planning
This is our obligatory comparison of online estate planning versus human estate planning.
Online estate planning documents might work just fine for you. You also might be one of those people who is great at doing his or her own research and following instructions. You also might not have that much at risk. However, if you aren’t sure whether or not they will work for you, then think of it this way…
You need to buy furniture. Do you:
a) buy wood, screws, and glue from the hardware store before sitting down with your copy of The Complete Manual of Woodworking to figure out how to make a table?
b) roll down to Ikea to buy a box of furniture parts with easy instructions on how to throw together a Fårtknuckle table?
c) buy something that is already made and have it delivered?
It kind of depends on where you are in life, right? And who or what your decisions impact? I bet that most people would be fine with putting their futon together for their first apartment out of college. Maybe they even glanced at those pictogram instructions before throwing them away. However, they might be more careful with the crib they bought for their first baby. At that point, they want to be pretty sure that crib is going to be solid.
Just to be clear. We don’t accept beer and food for estate plans (well, maybe really good food…).
If you try and build or assemble your own furniture, you find out pretty quickly if you did a crappy job. The table wobbles…the chair collapses…etc. The problem with building your own estate plan, is you won’t find out you did a crappy job until its too late. Actually you won’t find out because you’ll be gone. It is your surviving loved ones who will find out your estate plan doesn’t work because of some technical error you didn’t know about. Unfortunately, at that point, it is too late to fix the problem. Instead, your loved ones end up with a mess to clean up that you thought you had planned to avoid with some DIY planning.
I get it. Paying for something now that you won’t enjoy the value of isn’t very enticing. When you are looking into estate planning, think about these words from Warren Buffet: “price is what you pay, value is what you get.”
Colin Ley is a Seattle estate planning attorney. He is also the co-founder of LayRoots along with his wife, Shreya.