PB Law Blog... Trusts and Stuff

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Should I Do My Estate Planning Online???

Today’s technology allows us to access a gamut of information from the comfort of our homes or by simply pressing a quick button from our smartphones.  We can even do our shopping by simply asking our “virtual assistants”, like Amazon’s Alexa or Google Play, to place an order.  However, this quick and easy access to virtual markets begs the question, at what point does it become necessary to pull back, and approach important information in a more “traditional way? 

Online Estate Planning

With the vast amount of information on the world wide web, it is difficult to avoid finding information on a certain topic of interest.  In fact, this information can be very helpful when trying to find an attorney for your specific needs and/or doing preliminary research on your legal rights.  Furthermore, your local court website will likely have a self-help division offering very helpful information on procedural issues.  However, with estate planning in particular, it can be risky and even detrimental to do an estate plan completely on your own sans legal advice!  Every state has its own statutory regulations regarding trusts as well as rules pertaining to the actual document itself.  Additionally, each estate plan is unique because estate plans are customized to the individual in which they represent and although there is standard language within every trust, there are specific terms and nuances that must be included, depending on the trust, in order for the trust to function properly.

Along with the issue of overly-complicated language, the issue of various forms can complicate the task of DIY estate planning.  Aside from the actual trust document, your estate plan may also need:

  • Will (“Pour-Over Will”)
  • Durable Power of Attorney – Fiduciary Decisions
  • Durable Power of Attorney – Healthcare Decisions
  • Living Will
  • HIPAA Release
  • Deed Work
  • Business Interest Assignment
  • State Mandated Forms

So, what do you do?  Don’t shy away from accessing the information that is freely given, however, approach the information with caution and care.  Perhaps, you do preliminary research and formulate some questions and/or concerns as it relates to your estate plan.  Then, discuss your goals and your research with an estate planning attorney who can clarify and assist you in planning for your needs!

-by Laura Bown, J.D. with Tiffany Ballenger Floyd, Esq. (Nevada & California Estate Planning Attorney), © 2019, Phillips Ballenger, PLLC

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