Law

Estate Planning Attorney vs. Online Templates: Making the Right Choice

3 Mins read

An estate planning attorney is often vital in preparing final wishes and assets for the end of one’s life and/or medical incapacitation. The internet has made it easy for interested parties to use online templates to plan independently, including making a will, instead of going through the in-person process with an estate planning attorney. Some prefer, but some weigh their options over the best solution. Taking the time to compare the two options could help you find the choice ideal for your particular situation.

Questions and answers

One of the most significant benefits of hiring an estate planning attorney, such as one at Hays Firm, is that you can sit down with them and get answers to your questions. This type of personalized interaction can be advantageous when dealing with a complex issue like planning out a distribution of assets. 

Some websites offer attorney support, but it may feel different to you than having in-person, face-to-face, consistent conversations with an estate planning attorney who is local to you. This support may be especially beneficial if reaching someone via the website is difficult. 

According to Hays Firm, the quality of attorney support offered will likely differ from one website to another. For instance, one website might offer unlimited phone conversations with an attorney when you want to ask important questions, while another has a limit. If you are interested in something, review all the terms first to know what to expect. Also, check if there is an added cost for varying levels of support. 

Cost

Costs vary between estate planning attorneys just like they will differ from one website to the next. However, as reported by Hays Firm, online templates will almost always be the more affordable option, but that does not mean what you pay for the online templates will be worth the cost.

How much you pay for help from a website or an estate planning attorney will likely increase the more complex your situation gets, the more assistance you need, and the more pages/forms you require. Get an itemized bill, so you know what you will be paying without question.

Professional input

As previously stated, attorney support is available on the website(s). You may get the online templates so a lawyer can provide professional input about your circumstances. For some, that type of interaction might suffice. In contrast, others prefer professional input from an estate planning attorney in person as someone they can consistently reach out to when they have an issue. 

Customization

One of the most significant issues with online templates is that they are general and apply broadly. They are not customized to your particular scenario and may need to be state-specific. When you work with an estate planning attorney, you can feel confident that the paperwork will get done with you (and local/state laws) in mind. 

Final review of terms and terminology

Undoubtedly, even the most seemingly simple legal forms and situations can feel overwhelmingly complex to those without a law degree. Some websites offering online templates offer the service of having an attorney review the estate planning paperwork and check for proper legal terminology

However, there is no say in how carefully the review gets done, and there will likely be an extra charge for the service at some point, even if it is part of a package deal. If you cannot afford the additional cost or do not want to pay it, you must review and understand all the terminology and ensure your documents use the correct wording. 

An estate planning attorney will go over every line and word to guarantee that everything is accurate and particularly true because their personal and professional reputation and business are on the line. 

Future potential problems

Multiple potential problems arise from online templates, especially if you opt for the cheapest plan without all the extras. For instance, you may find out you did not use the correct form, the paperwork never got filed (or filed incorrectly), or you may have yet to get the results you anticipated. 

Using an estate planning attorney ensures all the documents are legit, up-to-date, and specific to your state, jurisdiction, and circumstances. You will also likely feel more sure you got the best outcome for your situation. 

The ultimate choice is to use an estate planning attorney or an online template. Each situation is particular, especially regarding the law, and how you feel about each option does matter. Weigh the pros and cons and decide which option makes you most comfortable.

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