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Do-it-yourself estate planning documents may cause issues

Estate planning offers several wealth protection and asset distribution options to Pennsylvania residents. That's why many people download estate planning documents from do-it-yourself websites. Although DIY legal websites cost less money, oversights can cause problems. Many individuals do not even know if their estate plans contain errors. Plus, people who take advantage of using online services need to pay more money to consult with an attorney.

One benefit derived from using a DIY website is that the consumer can download affordable documents in a short amount of time. Even simple estate planning documents are often better than having no valid will or plan in force. At the least, an estate plan purchased via an online website may offer consumers basic legal forms, including a will and a power of attorney document. An estate plan purchased via an online service can cost a few hundred dollars for a complete plan or under $100 for a will.

Many legal websites offering DIY estate plans assume consumers already know which estate planning forms to download. However, most individuals know nothing about required estate plan documents. Some individuals may need to have estate plans containing specific wording that matches their financial situations. Downloaded DIY documents often cause issues for these consumers. The same issue applies to downloaded wills. An online service may not provide a will that conforms to a particular state's probate code.

Whether an estate plan involves asset valuation, heirs or a surviving spouse, speaking with a lawyer may offer clarity. Sound estate planning involves dealing with estate administration, inheritance taxes and probate. These issues may not resolve themselves via DIY websites. However, an estate law attorney could provide an estate owner with answers to their questions.

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