Online generators claim to make estate planning much easier and cheaper, and some of them may actually do that. However, online generators can't replace estate planning in every aspect, especially if your estate has any special circumstances outside of the norm; and that is pretty much everyone. For this reason, it's best to hire an attorney to ensure your possessions and family remain protected after your passing.
1. Doesn't Cover It All
A majority of websites designed for estate planning only take into consideration the actual will, leaving much up to fate after your parting. In many cases, more information is necessary to ensure your heirs receive what's rightfully theirs. This means other documents are needed in addition to the will, which aren't available online. A prime example is naming your power of attorney in the event you're unable to speak for yourself because you are unable to for medical or physical reasons. If you dub one of your children as the power of attorney, they handle all matters involving your house and finances to protect them for you or future generations.
2. State Laws Vary
Some states require one or more witnesses present when signing a will. If not, the will may not be valid. This makes it more difficult for heirs because they may need to spend money in probate court to receive what you intended for them to have. Many online generators don't ask your state, so you may be unaware of laws that can make your will void and up for your family to contest.
3. Fancy Terms
Legal documents are full of fancy legal jargon that's not always understandable to the average person who doesn't hold a degree in law. We try to draft our documents so you understand them, and then we explain them to you. If you're not fully understanding what you're writing up in your will online, you might fill in something that could harm your family in the future. An attorney has the ability to provide you with advice and recommendations, so every aspect of your estate plan is as you desire.
4. Generators Don't Ask Enough Questions
The online format typically doesn't ask questions that may be challenging to answer or questions you simply need to talk out with your attorney and family. It also doesn't ask specifics such as who you want to act as your executor if you and your spouse should happen to pass at the same time or if your spouse is unable to handle the finances. The generator won't go into specifics. For examples, generators ask you to name one personal representative, where it's best to name more than one, but it isn't an option on most generators.
5. Generators Don't Care About You
Lastly, an online format simply doesn't care about you, your family, or the result. We do. That's an incentive right there to see an attorney. Once-size-fits-all online planning is no substitute for good advice.