Some Florida residents might assume that a do-it-yourself will is easier and cheaper than having a lawyer help prepare an estate plan. In fact, there can be a number of disadvantages to a DIY will, and it can be more costly to family members in the long run. Furthermore, a will does not just deal with the disposition of property. It can also appoint a guardian for minor children.
DIY wills tend to be one size fits all, and estate planning rarely is. Estate planning software generally has forms that are usable in all 50 states. State laws can vary a great deal regarding various types of taxes, probate, and what makes a will legal. Even those that have state editions may not be entirely up to date. There can be further complications around such issues as disinheriting someone.
It’s important to keep in mind that even books and articles about legal issues carry caveats that they are not legal advice. One reason for this is that they can rarely anticipate all the variations that could change that advice. It is worth keeping in mind that most people hire professionals for other parts of their life from personal grooming to medical care. The law is no different.
One potential advantage of hiring an attorney to assist in making an estate plan is that many people may not know what tools are available to them. For example, a person may not realize that leaving an inheritance for a family member who receives government aid because of a disability could endanger those benefits. An attorney might be able to explain how to set up a special needs trust to care for the person instead.