Do you really need a lawyer to plan your estate? Why not use a DIY program on the Internet?
The problem with the answer, like many legal matters, is that it depends. It depends on whether your situation is “plain vanilla” and fits within the options offered by the online program. It depends on whether the online program asks the right questions to determine whether you fit its forms. Even if the documents the program produces are good, whether they work may depend on how you title your assets.
Experienced estate planners will have worked with thousands of clients with different circumstances before you sit down with them, in addition to spending three years in law school and untold hours in continuing legal education classes. They will bring all of that experience and learning to bear on your situation.
The result in many cases is that your ultimate documents will only look a little different from those you could have created online. However, depending on your situation, they may look very different.
Only after you are incapacitated or gone will your family know whether a DIY plan meets your goals and their needs.
So, why do you need a lawyer to draft your estate? If you had an open wound, would you stitch it up yourself? Sure, you might be able to find the needle and thread, but you would probably rather a doctor administer the stitches since he is an expert. For the same reason, having an experienced attorney draft your estate plan ensures that you will have a comprehensive design that encompasses all matters of importance to you and your family.