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Penny Wise and Pound Foolish; Doing Your Estate Plan on the Cheap:

Most of us work very hard to accumulate our nest eggs. Sacrifice of time and energy, is often made to acquire the assets that we have. To ensure that these hard earned assets will be distributed where we want, how we want, and be managed by whom we want, it is critical to have the necessary legal documents in place.

To save a few bucks, people often look to “do-it-yourself” software programs to create their personal estate plans. Be very careful of these shortcuts. As the old adage states: Penny wise, pound foolish. Don’t work your whole life acquiring your nest egg simply to leave it to chance that everything will work out when you are incapacitated or dead.

A 2011 ConsumerReports.org article described that after testing LegalZoom estate planning documents and other software programs similar to LegalZoom, it was determined that “…unless your needs are very simple - say, you want to leave everything to your spouse with no other provisions - none of them are likely to meet your needs.” Consumer Reports found issues throughout the LegalZoom documents and found them unsatisfactory to use in most instances.

Preparing one’s own estate planning documents through an online legal document service can be a risky proposition. Estate planning has many nuances. It often addresses complex and technical points of law, and covers a broad range of issues even if a person does not have substantial assets. As stated in the disclaimer on its website, LegalZoom and its services are not a substitute for the advice of an attorney; it does not apply the law to the facts of a particular situation, and the information on its website is not guaranteed to be correct, complete, or up-to-date.

An experienced estate planning attorney adds significant value to the process to help ensure that a costly mistake, which may not be discovered until a crisis develops, doesn’t occur. A qualified attorney stays current on developments in the law, which helps ensure the plan is current and drafted effectively, and meets the individual’s objectives and needs.

Developing a relationship with a good estate planning attorney allows you to have a trusted advisor who can provide guidance on your most important lifetime decisions and to assist your family when you are gone.

dave-eastmanContributed by Phoenix, Arrowhead and Scottsdale Estate Planning Attorney, David T. Eastman.

What the Attorneys of Morris Hall, PLLC Can Do For You:
The attorneys at Morris Hall have 100’s of years of combined experience ensuring that families’ assets are protected from probate, unnecessary taxes, creditors, ex-spouses and Medicaid spend-down.  Our Arizona offices are located in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Carefree, Tucson, Oro Valley, Prescott, Flagstaff and Arrowhead.  Our New Mexico offices are located in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe.  Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!

This blog should be used for informational purposes only.  It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice.  If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.

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