Dealing with Death is never easy. Making sure you have the proper instructions, legally done, is so important. I believe that a lot of succession problems can be avoided by proper titling of accounts. Most insurance policies and retirement accounts have places for you to designate primary and contingent beneficiaries. Bank and brokerage accounts allow for adding a Transfer on death designation, these will all help to avoid probate. You still need a proper Will, Living Will, and to designate someone as power of attorney. Here are some of the things that can go wrong when you try to put together estate planning paperwork by yourself:
Even if you don’t think you have enough assets to warrant it, a will can clear up confusion and costs, and make sure small things of sentimental value go where you want. I have seen more family fights over small trinkets than anything else.
The online services are cheap upfront, and that is by far the biggest appeal, but it is really a question of whether you want to pay now or have your heirs pay because you left a mess behind.
Another common problem with online services, or when a person tries to create a will on their own: failure to sign a will or have it properly witnessed following the laws of your state.
Hire a qualified Estate Planning Attorney. Don’t leave a mess for your family, leave loving memories instead.