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(Don’t) Do It Yourself Estate Planning

An advertisement for a “Free Estate Planning App” recently came across one of my social media platforms.  I was intrigued.  There are many popular websites where individuals can go to create their own legal documents, but nothing so easy as a free downloadable app.

Of course I went for it.  Why not, it was free!  Curiosity got the better of me and I wanted to waste my time to see if what this app put together would be worthwhile.  Let me give you the short version; it was not.

The Durable Financial Power of Attorney did not include the necessary language for insurance companies to deal with an agent, nor was there a provision for gifting.  The Health Care Power of Attorney did not have an option for decisions to be made for pregnant women or “Other Options”.  The Last Will and Testament with Children’s Trust did not appropriately appoint guardians for minor children.

While I found all these issues to be disturbing, what I found to be more disturbing is that someone using these apps (who isn’t an attorney) doesn’t know these things are missing!  These papers would be legal if properly signed, but they might not know what these documents mean or the effects of signing them.  It’s like mad libs with real world consequences.

Check the “No” box for admission to a nursing home on the Health Care Power of Attorney and you could be looking at a guardianship proceeding.  Without the option for gifting on a Durable Financial Power of Attorney, forget about the possibility of Medicaid planning.  The list continues.

Next time you are scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, or online news, resist the urge to download a free estate planning app.  Just because it’s possible, doesn’t mean it’s practical.  I could cut my own hair, but I definitely won’t regret letting a professional do it instead.

Call Schluesche Fields S.C. to discuss your individualized estate planning needs done by an experienced and trusted attorney.

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