You might be asking yourself: “Why shouldn’t I just get one of these online will/trust packages for $19.95 and avoid dealing with an attorney altogether?”
Well, there are several things to consider when deciding whether or not to do it yourself (DIY) or use an internet will package.
By necessity, these packages are notoriously general and vague. Because the producers of these packages want to be able to sell them in all jurisdictions (Note: They always advertise “Valid in all fifty states”), they have to either remove provisions that are state specific or add a bunch of things that you probably don’t need in order to comply with some other state’s law. You end up with documents that may (repeat, may) be valid in Virginia but certainly are not crafted to specifically comply with Virginia law.
More importantly, unlike most products or services you can get on the internet, you will never be able to “test out” this product. Your “do it yourself” legal documents might be valid and they might not. You might spend years or decades thinking that you have your estate planning affairs in order. Only after your death will it be discovered by others if you have made what may seem like a minor mistake; a mistake that invalidates everything. (This is why all internet legal document sites try to avoid future liability by telling you in the fine print that you should have their documents reviewed by an attorney to make sure they have been properly completed – knowing full well that no one will do this).
The long and short of it is, you can probably go online and find instructions for removing your own appendix. That doesn’t make it a good idea to try and chances are you may do more harm than good. When you need medical attention, you should look for a good doctor. When you need legal representation, should look for a good lawyer.
Contact us to learn more.