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The Dangers of "DIY" Estate Planning

The Danger of DIY documents

In response to fear, anxiety, and the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, many Americans are scrambling to create hasty estate plans, including end-of-life directives.  According to a recent online article, several companies have seen a spike in creation of online, Do-It-Yourself (“DIY”) wills, powers of attorney and health care documents.

When bad things happen, fear can motivate us to take action. Although fear is a great motivator,  rushing to put together a hasty DIY plan could result in unexpected consequences.

In 2016, my grandfather was scheduled for surgery and was told by his doctor that his healthcare documents were outdated, and that he would need to execute new documents. Fear and urgency made him rush to put together new estate planning documents and healthcare directives.

Instead of seeking the advice of a qualified estate planning attorney, my grandfather completed fill-in-the-blank forms online. The online “package” consisted of a statutory healthcare directive, a statutory Living Will, Medical Treatment Plan, Special Power of Attorney, and a Last Will and Testament.

To most people this would seem like a pretty straight forward and comprehensive plan. However, by filling out this DIY package, my grandfather completely unraveled his intended estate plan, which caused additional delay and resulted in expensive litigation.

Through the DIY package, my grandfather unintentionally gave the entire estate to his then current wife, which contradicted his previously established trust, letters, notes, and other documents evidencing his intent to distribute 50% of the estate to his wife and 50% equally to his children.

At Morris Hall, PLLC we have been helping families plan for life’s uncertainties for 50 years. During this novel time, our entire Morris Hall team remains ready to serve you. We encourage you to take action and create an estate plan that brings peace to yourself and your family. Don’t let fear paralyze you or cause you to make hasty decisions. We want you and your family to avoid the unnecessary costs, delay, and uncertainty that result from DIY estate plans.

Call to schedule a phone or video consultation with one of our qualified and caring attorneys to have your current estate plan reviewed or to establish a new estate plan that accomplishes your goals.


Call 888-222-1328 or email us at


Lisa Wynn
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