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The Hidden Risks of Online Wills and Trusts: Why DIY Estate Planning is a Bad Idea


Estate planning is a crucial process that ensures the well-being of your loved ones and the preservation of your assets. It involves making a will to outline your wishes for your property after you die, creating a living trust to designate someone to oversee your assets, and taking steps to protect your children by choosing who will raise them and preserving your assets for them.In the digital age, online wills and trusts have gained popularity due to their affordability, accessibility, and convenience. However, the Law Office of Eric Ridley suggests that these online services may come with risks and limitations that could potentially lead to unintended consequences.

Online wills and trusts are perceived as advantageous due to their cost-effectiveness and ease of access. The convenience of completing the process remotely is also a major draw for many individuals. However, these services may not be adequate for complex situations, such as blended families or special needs children, potentially leading to overlooked details and invalid documents [2, 3]. The Law Office of Eric Ridley understands these limitations and provides personalized estate planning services that surpass online platforms, ensuring comprehensive solutions tailored to individual needs.

Attraction of Online Wills and Trusts

The affordability of online wills and trusts is often a significant factor that attracts individuals to these services. Setting up an estate plan through an online platform can be cheaper compared to hiring an attorney. Additionally, the ease of access and user-friendly interfaces of these online services make it convenient for users to create their wills and trusts from the comfort of their own homes.

For example, a young couple with limited assets and no children may find online wills and trusts sufficient for their needs. They can quickly and easily create a basic estate plan without incurring the costs associated with hiring an attorney. The simplicity and affordability of online services can make them an attractive option for individuals in simple situations.

However, it is essential to consider the potential risks and limitations before relying solely on online wills and trusts. Complex situations, such as blended families or special needs children, may require more detailed and customized estate planning documents to ensure the protection of all parties involved [2, 3]. Therefore, it is crucial to consult with an experienced attorney, like Eric Ridley, who can provide personalized advice and solutions to address specific circumstances.

Risks of Online Wills and Trusts

While online wills and trusts may seem convenient and cost-effective, there are inherent risks and limitations associated with using these services. One of the significant risks is the lack of personalized advice. Online platforms often provide general templates that may not consider individual circumstances or provide tailored recommendations.

For instance, let’s consider a person who wants to leave a substantial portion of their estate to a charity. An online will may not adequately address this specific intention or provide guidance on the most tax-efficient way to achieve the desired outcome. Without personalized advice, the individual may inadvertently create a will that does not accurately reflect their wishes or fails to maximize the benefits for both their loved ones and the chosen charity.

In addition to the lack of personalized advice, online wills and trusts may have limited access to help and support. If users encounter any issues or have questions while using an online platform, they may only have access to generic customer service representatives who may not have the legal knowledge or expertise to provide adequate guidance [2, 4]. This limited support can result in errors and omissions, potentially leading to unintended consequences and costly legal battles after the creator’s death.

To mitigate these risks, it is crucial to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney like Eric Ridley, who can offer personalized advice, answer specific questions, and ensure the validity and effectiveness of estate planning documents [1, 2]. By seeking professional guidance, individuals can avoid potential pitfalls and ensure that their estate plan accurately reflects their intentions and protects their loved ones and assets.

Estate Planning Attorney Eric Ridley