What I Wish I Knew Before Using an Online Estate Planning Service
Know the problems with online estate planning services before deciding your estate planning route.
If you’ve been searching for estate planning services in New Mexico, chances are you’ll see different online providers claim that they are fast, easy, and affordable. Unfortunately, this is not typically the reality for New Mexico residents. Additionally, when people find out their online estate planning service was not sufficient, they have to use additional time and resources to get their estate properly planned. If you’ve found yourself pondering if you should plan your estate, save yourself the hassle and read on to learn about what you should know before using an online estate planning service (and why you probably shouldn’t).
The Problems With Online Estate Planning Services
Online estate planning services are advertised to be a convenient and cost-effective option, but there are many potential problems to consider if you opt to use an online service. Here are eight main issues to consider before using an online estate planning service:
- Lack of Personal Advice Online services, including estate planning providers, run off of standardized templates for Estate planning documents such as wills and trusts. Templates fail to take into account unique situations, while a qualified estate planning attorney can offer you personalized advice based on your needs and goals.
- Limited Knowledge of the Law When you search for online estate planning services, remember that the people behind the online platform may lack formal legal training. These services can be problematic if they lack the expertise to address complex issues that arise in planning your estate. An estate planning attorney can certainly save you money in the long run since they bring their knowledge of the law and practice experience to handle tax planning and trusts.
- Compromises Online services usually rely on yes/no or multiple choice questionnaire responses from you to generate documents. If your personal situation does not quite fit the questionnaire framework, you may be tempted to select the option you think is closest to what you want without knowing the ramifications of your choice. You may be left with a compromise plan which does not truly reflect your wishes.
- You End Up Playing Attorney While working through your questionnaire, you are making choices that can have significant legal ramifications. The online system may provide you with a pop-up explanation of terms, but it cannot give you an instant legal background sufficient to ensure that you’re not making a mistake.
- Omissions and Errors If you use an online estate planning service, it is possible you will not have all the necessary information to comply with your state and federal laws. Attempting the estate planning process without an attorney may lead to errors and omissions which you may not discover until it is too late.
- Lack of Attorney-Client Relationship Trying to plan your estate with an online service means you may not have the same level of legal protection you would receive from if you had worked directly with an attorney. Additionally, an attorney can provide added benefits such as reminders to revisit your estate plan if your situation materially changes.
- Security Concerns Submitting sensitive personal and financial information to an online website comes with valid security concerns. If you elect to use an online estate planning service, your sensitive information could be vulnerable to hacking and other security breaches.
- Documents are Not Enough Online services focus on producing documents–usually wills, powers of attorney, and health care directives. Even if those documents are well drafted, they do not address what happens to assets that are jointly owned or have a beneficiary or transfer-on-death designations. Failing to coordinate these designations with your plan documents can alter or even destroy the purpose of your plan.
Working With A Qualified Estate Planning Attorney in New Mexico
After considering the pros and cons associated with using an online estate planning service, your next step is to determine your preferred course of action. Should you decide against using an online estate planning service, the qualified estate planning attorney team at New Mexico Legal Group can provide you with all the benefits of planning your estate with an experienced attorney. To give yourself peace of mind should something unexpected happen, make sure your family and financial needs are outlined and enforceable. Get started with your estate plan today by visiting https://www.newmexicolegalgroup.com/estate-planning/