Trusting the Online Trust … Don’t!
Everyone wants to save a few bucks, right? But at what cost? Your family is the one area where corners cannot be cut. Don’t be fooled by online legal document services offering a bargain price. Yes, estate-planning attorneys can be expensive … but choosing an online service over a licensed attorney could be the costliest mistake you ever make.
In a quest to skip attorney’s fees, consumers will use a low-cost website to prepare wills or trusts. Unfortunately, most don’t realize what they’re getting themselves into with an online document service—or better said, what they’re not getting when creating an online will or trust.
Online services are not mesa az trust lawyers. They cannot give legal advice. They are “document specialists”—a term used by states to define the providers who type your info into generic forms. Yep … people mindlessly input your information, whether it’s the best option—or not—for you. If you get in a jam, they can’t help you. If you don’t know which direction to take, they can’t warn you. These so-called doc specialists may be law students or college grads—but, legally, they can’t give advice because they don’t have a license to do so. A licensed attorney can give advice and help you and warn you.
A licensed attorney can immediately pinpoint opportunities and hidden hazards. A licensed attorney can show you how to leave assets to a special needs child without jeopardizing government benefits or how to protect a child’s inheritance from malicious lawsuits, divorce or bankruptcy.
A well-designed estate plan with a mesa az estate planning attorney ensures your assets go where you want them to go. Do you want a legally enforceable provision specifically tailored to your unique situation or do you want a one-size-fits-all document that could potentially be called into question—causing misery for those left behind to muddle through?
We don’t live in a vanilla/generic world. Granted, it’s better to have a will than no will, but today’s complicated life involves 2nd marriages, stepchildren, special assets such as a family business, property in multiple states and too many other situations to list that don’t fit into a one-size-fits-all will or trust (with no legal advice). We live in a litigious society and many need help navigating that world with the personal attention a licensed attorney provides.
The online services are very clever marketers—even using attorneys or celebrities to tout their product. They challenge you to compare prices. But think about it. First of all, it’s not really fair to judge the cost of an online, fill-in-the-blank document against an attorney’s services which tailor make your entire estate plan to your specific needs. (And, truth be told, some web-based agencies will tell you that you should consult an attorney anyway.)
Secondly, prices can’t be compared because the service offered by an attorney is very different from the service offered by an online service. It’s like comparing the food you get in a plastic box from a drive-thru window at a fast food joint with a five-course meal at an elegant restaurant with an attentive staff. Most people have experienced the difference in value and can judge that difference in the quality of service—you know, that “you get what you pay for” concept. But when it comes to your family and loved ones, why take the fast food route? You have one shot at a well-designed estate plan. If you mess it up, you’ll never know—but your family will and probably all too painfully and costly. You don’t want your family or loved ones put in a bind financially or emotionally by not preparing properly now. They deserve the five-star restaurant treatment. Consult with a licensed attorney who can help you put your unique set of affairs in order … while eliminating a sloppy, costly mess after you’re gone.
You don’t want to be remembered as one who cut corners to save himself a few bucks—only to leave family and loved ones fighting over the confusion and costing them thousands.
Wayne Gardner, Attorney
Buntrock & Gardner Law, PLLC
Mesa, AZ 85203