A will is the foundation of an estate plan. This allows you to preserve your legacy and document your wishes to pass down property and assets to your loved ones.
However, nearly 70% of Americans today fail to write a will. Reasons for this include never getting around to it, putting it off for another day, assuming it is unnecessary for their estate and more. With such statistics, the rise of do-it-yourself will options may seem both inventive and practical. However, what should you know before creating a will on your own, online or more?
You may not know what you need
According to Forbes, DIY websites offer a variety of options to create a will. These options can range from straightforward wills to more costly, robust estate plans. However, you may not understand what documents could best serve your estate. You may feel uncertain whether a simple will suffices or whether you should consider incorporating a will, trust, power of attorney and health care directive into your plan.
A lack of customization can lead to disputes
Creating your will through a website may mean simply filling in the blanks. However, your estate may require more thorough, thoughtful and flexible planning. Maybe you have complex family dynamics, with children or grandchildren at odds with each other. A straightforward will may lead to disputes among disgruntled beneficiaries.
Additionally, many DIY will websites are created to apply to individuals residing in all 50 states. While some sites do offer state-specific services, Alaska probate laws are constantly evolving. The Balance cautions that generic online estate planning can lead to issues with state law and potentially complicate the probate process for your heirs.
An attorney can offer more detail and flexibility
With today’s online options, working with an attorney may seem unnecessary. However, working with an attorney to create your estate plan can guard against future uncertainty, inheritance disputes, issues with state law and more. A lawyer can examine your entire situation, offering recommendations for what documents can accomplish your wishes, protect your estate and provide for your loved ones.
Without a will, Alaska’s intestacy laws will determine the fate of your assets. While having a will is often better than nothing, consider consulting with an attorney to determine your options to thoroughly plan your estate. While DIY wills may seem cost-effective, the disadvantages can outweigh the benefits for some Alaskan families.