With the help of Google, YouTube and other search engines, the Internet has turned us into a “do-it-yourself” society, where everyone can learn how to change their oil, self-diagnose their medical condition or do their own legal work. The Internet can be an amazing resource if you’re trying to save money. However, using the Internet to save money may not be wise for more advanced tasks, including estate planning. Most estate planning lawyers have found that the Internet has actually become a disservice to those individuals who decide to use it for their wills, trusts, powers of attorney and health care documents. Websites that offer do-it-yourself estate planning, such as LegalZoom and RocketLawyer, want you to believe that the documents are simple and can be prepared for pennies on the dollar. That’s because these websites have perfected the art of convincing the public that using their documents are good alternatives to meeting with a lawyer. What these websites don’t tell you, and what they don’t want you to know, is that using these documents should not give you (and more importantly, your family) peace of mind that your affairs are in order if you die or become disabled. In estate planning, much like everything else, you get what you pay for.

If you are thinking about getting an estate plan, don’t let online estate planning documents devastate your family and leave them in financial ruin. Over the next several months through a series of blogs, I will explore the top three reasons your online estate planning documents can devastate your family and leave them in financial ruin. The first set of blogs will cover the first reason: the pitfalls of not getting legal advice from an attorney can cause your estate plan to be defective because of wrong heirs, wasteful spending and worthless investments. The next set of blogs will cover the second reason: generic online estate planning documents can make your estate plan more complicated and confusing. Finally, the last set of blogs will cover the third reason: the real costs of your financial mistakes when using do-it-yourself documents can cause your family financial ruin. Please visit our blog each week to learn more about the top three reasons how your online estate planning documents can devastate your family and leave them in financial ruin.

Bill Hesch is an attorney, CPA, and PFS (Personal Financial Specialist) who is licensed in Ohio and Kentucky and helps clients get peace of mind with their tax, financial and estate planning. He focuses his practice in the areas of elder law, corporate law, Medicaid planning, tax law and probate in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas. His practice area includes Hamilton, Butler, Warren and Clermont counties in Ohio, and Campbell, Kenton and Boone counties in Kentucky. (Legal Disclaimer: Bill Hesch submits this blog to provide general information about the firm and its services. Information in this blog is not intended as legal advice, and any person receiving information on this page should not act on it without consulting professional legal counsel. While at times Bill Hesch may render an opinion, Bill Hesch does not offer legal advice through this blog. Bill Hesch does not enter into an attorney-client relationship with any online reader via online contact.)